Warhol in the Andes
In June 2009, the largest Warhol exhibition ever to be staged in Latin America, Andy Warhol: Mr. America, was organized by The Museo de Arte del Banco de la República in Bogotá, Colombia, in partnership with The Andy Warhol Museum of Pittsburgh. During the exhibition organized by the museums, a small town called Jericó in the rural Colombian Andes, put together an independent parallel exhibition of 13 of Warhol’s works in a hybrid space (the gallery and conference room) of the local archeological museum, borrowing prints of Mao and Marilyn from the private collection by an art dealer and collector born in Jerico.
The undertaking garnered a lot of press, with one Colombian newspaper declaring “Believe it! Warhol in Jericó.” The title of this article makes explicit how amazing and unprecedented this event was for the people of Colombia, especially those living outside of the capital city who often lack access to institutions of art and cross-border cultural exchange, more generally.
Soon after moving to Pittsburgh from Bogotá and starting work at The Andy Warhol Museum, I stumbled upon a small article about the Jericó exhibition in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in March of 2010. If nothing else it was an amazing coincidence, and I wanted to use the opportunity to follow up on Jerico’s efforts to break down the cultural isolation that occurs in rural areas of my country
In June of 2010, I returned to Colombia and organized a series of workshops in Jerico about Warhol’s work and silkscreening techniques. The workshops engaged almost 300 people–including school children, local educators as well as drug-addicted youth from a nearby rehab shelter–allowing them to discuss and appropriate Warhol’s strategies by using local referents to produce portraits, collages and silkscreened T-shirts. These workshops helped to expand on Jerico’s sudden surge of interest in Warhol, and in art in general, as well as to create dialogue between North American Pop icons and local imagery.
Workshop activities modeled after RUST (Radical Urban Silkscreen Team) and the ongoing programs by the The Andy Warhol Museum’s education department.
For this workshops I used the portable exposing units for silkscreen designed by Artists Image Resource (AIR), an artist-run organization in Pittsburgh that specializes in fine art printmaking.
This project was possible thanks to Andrea Solano, my workshop co-facilitator, Jerico’s Museum and Municipality, Heather White and Mary Tremonte and the education team from the Andy Warhol Museum.