Andy Warhol – I’m OK Exhibition – Prague

Poster of Andy Warhol Holding a Copy of Interview Magazine Which He Founded in 1969 With John Wilcock.

As I was wandering about Prague’s Old Town, my eye was drawn to an Andy Warhol poster in the corner of the square. Imagine my excitement when the poster was advertising an exhibition of his work in the Prague Gallery of Art organised in conjunction with the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh featuring over forty globally-renowned pieces including those depicting Marilyn Monroe, Chairman Mao, Flowers and, of course, the Velvet Underground.

The Velvets’ are rightly regarded as the Godfathers of alternative music and the Banana motif on their debut album with Nico is instantly recognised the world over. Warhol championed Nico’s involvement and had a defining influence on the band during their embryonic development. Popular legend decrees that the album only sold thirty thousand copies in the early years, but everyone who bought a copy formed a band. Perhaps an exaggeration although the sentiment is valid as everyone from Roxy Music to Nirvana subsequently cited The Velvets’ as a primary influence.

Inside, the exhibition did not disappoint and one was struck by how Warhol’s pop-art aesthetic has seeped into mainstream culture, advertising and brand design. Many of the most famous pieces represent Warhol’s observations regarding the commodification of celebrity and the throwaway nature of modern society. Beautifully curated, the exhibition included a screen-printing workshop where visitors produced their own designs in an atmosphere constructed to mirror one of Warhol’s legendary Factories in New York.

Original works now sell for millions of dollars and Warhol’s place as one of the greatest modern artists is assured. Having an opportunity to reappraise my understanding and appreciation of his contribution was one of the highlights of an epic trip to one of Europe’s most magnificent cities.