Saudi Arabia: Arts AlUla to launch exhibit in collaboration with Andy Warhol Museum

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Arts AlUla will launch an exhibition produced in a new collaboration with The Andy Warhol Museum on February 17 next year as part of the mega-festival AlUla Moments’ events calendar.

The exhibition, ‘FAME: Andy Warhol in AlUla,’ will bring together some of Andy Warhol’s most iconic artworks in an exhibition curated specifically for Maraya – the mirror-clad arts and cultural venue in the ancient Saudi Arabian city of AlUla.

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FAME is part of the Arts AlUla festival which launched last year as AlUla’s flagship annual arts festival and which runs from February 16 to February 28, 2023.

“In homage to a heritage built by diverse cultural perspectives, Arts AlUla will present FAME: Andy Warhol in AlUla as part of a long-term vision of spectacular and multicultural arts initiatives,” Nora al-Dabal, Executive Director, Arts and Creative Industries for Arts AlUla said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We aim to drive a new era of cultural exchange, including exhibitions that feature the most important regional and international artists from the mid-20th century to the present day.”

The exhibition is curated by the US-based museum’s Director Patrick Moore and will feature Warhol’s paintings and prints of celebrities and Hollywood stars, including Elizabeth Taylor and Dolly Parton among many others.

The art installation will also include Warhol designed wallpaper and one of his most well-known pieces ‘Silver Clouds.’ Rarely seen archival photos previously made in his studio will also be included in the exhibition.

The Andy Warhol Museum is an internationally-renowned American institution which houses the world’s largest collection of Warhol’s work and archive. One of the world’s most famous artists, Warhol’s work was centered on fame and celebrity.

“We are delighted to be collaborating with Arts AlUla on this exhibition, bringing some of Warhol’s most vibrant and iconic works to this monumental landscape,” said Moore.

“’FAME’ is intended to be an introduction to the aspect of Warhol that I believe is most fascinating to many young people, including Saudi youth, as Andy Warhol’s journey, which started as a child staring at the movie screen and collecting publicity stills, is becoming more common through the rise of social media.”

“FAME is an opportunity to further extend Warhol’s legacy by reaching new audiences through the display but also the talks program and screen-printing workshops that will run in parallel,” he added.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a public program of talks and a series of workshops, including masterclasses in screen printing and design.

Like its title, ‘FAME,’ the exhibition will focus on the concept of fame and how it shaped Warhol’s artwork throughout his career. From his childhood in industrial Pittsburgh, Warhol idealized Hollywood glamor and dreamed of becoming a part of that world.

Warhol until this day remains one of the world’s most famous and recognizable artists and a key figure in the pop culture movement that emerged in the 1960s.

The radical movement, driven by a pioneering generation of creatives, echoes the movement of change that is driving a blueprint for a new Saudi Arabia, according to the Royal Commission of AlUla.

Investment into cultural programming and the development of iconic cultural assets are a central part of a paradigm shift across the country.

A view of the facade of the new purpose-built Maraya (Arabic for “Mirror”) concert hall hosting the first “Winter at Tantora” music carnival in the ruins of AlUla. (AFP)
A view of the facade of the new purpose-built Maraya (Arabic for “Mirror”) concert hall hosting the first “Winter at Tantora” music carnival in the ruins of AlUla. (AFP)

One of the oldest cities on the Arabian Peninsula, AlUla has garnered a great deal of interest from tourists worldwide since it officially opened up to the world in 2021.

The region has been holding several events ever since, as it looks to revive itself as a global destination for arts and culture through major collaborations with high profile artists, curators, and institutions.

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