Cadillac Brings ‘Letters to Warhol’ Exhibition To Dubai

BY Rebecca Anne Proctor / Dec 13 2017 / 20:57 PM

The travelling exhibition unveils rarely-seen letters and artwork from The Andy Warhol Museum and is on show until 16 December

Cadillac Brings ‘Letters to Warhol’ Exhibition To Dubai
Letters to Warhol exhibition in Dubai

Tucked away in an intimate space behind the sprawling buildings of Dubai Design District (d3) is Letters to Warhol, a show revealing rarely-seen missives written to the great American artist by the likes of Yves Saint Laurent and Mick Jagger, underlining Warhol’s innate connection with the worlds of music, media, art, fashion and celebrity. Other framed letters are by the Museum of Modern Art, which famously refused to exhibit Warhol’s work, the New York State Department of Public Works and a mutual friend of his and Truman Capote’s that offer a glimpse into the artist’s most personal relationships as well as trials with fame.

Warhol’s legacy is so rich and so deep that there really is something for almost anyone,” said Patrick Moore, the Director of The Andy Warhol Museum, who was present for the opening. “When it comes to looking at the present moment in America it is so important to look at this kind of inclusivity that art can bring.” The museum recently staged the first US solo exhibition of Iranian artist Farhad Moshiri titled Farhad Moshiri: Go West. The artist, often dubbed the “Middle East’s Andy Warhol”, presents his use of pop culture elements through use of various materials, language and techniques echoing the movements of Pop Art and kitsch and referencing Iranian and American contemporary society.

Andy Warhol

Inside the Letters to Warhol exhibition in Dubai

Warhol, who came from an immigrant family, was probably the least likely person to become rich and famous, added Moore. The show draws parallels between the Iranian artist who was also touched by Warhol’s legacy and creates works evoking the Pop art tradition. “It was everything I wanted America to be about and also the Warhol Museum to be about,” said Moore.

The partnership with Cadillac is one that similarly conjures up 1950s America and undoubtedly links back to Warhol, who often included the car in his works.  “Cadillac embraced Warhol because Warhol really talks about resilience – the best of “Americana” – that tradition of not just being nostalgic as America can be sometimes, but forward-looking,” added Moore.

Letters to Warhol marks the second time the exhibition has been exhibited outside of the US (it was staged in Munich in July 2017) and it’s also the last stop after a year of travels across major American cities. “By partnering with Cadillac, a brand that is the epitome of the American dream, we are sharing Warhol’s legacy. Cars are among the comparatively unknown and unexamined subjects of Warhol’s diverse, vast body of work, but he drew and painted a range of Cadillac models which are now on show in Dubai,” adds Moore.

Andy Warhol

Letters to Warhol exhibition

One of the letters displayed was from Yves Saint Laurent. “Just a note about these stupid rumours in W.W about my portraits,” he writes. “I love them, I admire you, I am your friend, Love, Yves.” Warhol had painted Saint Laurent’s portrait and there was a rumour going around the art world that the fashion designer hated it. “Andy was very vulnerable, especially with his friends and this made him nuts that Yves hated it,” explained Moore. Here are two of the world’s most famous artists who are also friends symbolised through this note – a note that offers reassurance and camaraderie. “The note shows how no matter how powerful someone becomes there is always that vulnerability, that humanity,” added Moore.

Through art, language and cars Letters to Warhol explores the elements that make up the American character as much as it does Warhol’s influence on the rest of the world. “I think this is the moment for us to reach out the Middle East,” said Moore. “Warhol’s work has seldom been shown in the Middle East and is not that well-known here. There’s a great opportunity here for us to educate about Warhol.”

Andy Warhol exhibition

Inside the Letters to Warhol exhibition in Dubai

But why is it important to do so now? “America has a slightly complicated reputation in the world at present,” mused Moore. “As a museum we want to be showing Middle Eastern artists in our exhibitions and we want, as an American museum, to be present in the Middle East. It is important to us as a cultural institution, even if certain kinds of borders in America may be closed, culture borders are not.”

The phrase 'Warhol for All' rings a happy bell. And perhaps this is the artist’s greatest legacy: an art that continues to unite across cultural and economic borders. and