The 23rd of April I had the chance to visit Warhol and Banksy’s exhibition at Palazzo della Cultura in Catania, my city. My school (which is also a really beautiful building since the 19th century) organized this visit ‘outside the walls’; it was proposed by my Art teacher but she couldn’t be our guide that day, so we (my schoolmates and I) were with our English teacher. I admit that I had been to this exhibition before but I looked forward to going there again because I thought and it’s still my opinion that it’s one of the most interesting exhibition that Catania has hosted in recent years. As I mentioned before this visit was about Warhol and Banksy and a lot of original paintings were there; our guide was a boy who was almost 22 years old so he knew how to make us curios and hold our attention about the life of these main characters. Let’s start from the beginning, who are they?
Andy Warhol was born on the 6th August 1928 in Pennsylvania and passed away in 1987. He was an American artist and filmmaker, an initiator and important exponent of Pop art, and he also worked as a commercial illustrator for about a decade. His fame increased in 1962, when he showed the paintings of Campbell’s soup cans, the first artwork which criticises consumerism. He continued that way and in the 60s he also started his filmmaking career.
Banksy instead is just a name. We think they were born in 1974 but we don’t know anything else, is Banksy a girl? A guy? Are they many people or just one person? It’s all a mistery. The most important thing about “them” is what “they” do. They are known as graffiti artists famous for “their” anti – authoritarian art. Banksy is now a symbol for every street artist in the world, but is also the name who created Dismaland and many other public protests.
The visit lasts about 2 hours and aims at comparing the two famous artists, their works and their mindsets; because of this the first room displays just two quotes, one from Warhol and one from Banksy: “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes” compared to “In the future, everybody will be anonymus for 15 minutes”. In my opinion this is the essence of the exhibition: these two world famous quotes belong to two different eras, but not eras in time, eras concerning people’s mindset. We are in the same century but these two quotes are completely different, ironically they’re opposite in the same century. So why has this happened? When? What has changed people’s mentality? All of your answers are in the artworks of Banksy, he modified a lot of Warhol’s artworks and made them become posters of consumerism, of war, of people’s selfishness that exploded in XX century and by then is fastly increasing.
In conclusion my classmates and I loved this art exhibition and recommend it to every single person who has this chance, because it’s interesting, emotional, in a sort of way even ironic and also iconic, it triggers an infinity mechanism of self-reflection, it could change your perspective on the world, especially regarding the consumerism issue that we (maybe unconsciously) ignore. I hope I’ve made you more curious about these two artists and I’ll leave you with my favourite quote, by Andy Warhol:
“You can be watching Tv and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it and you know it.”