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The Andy Warhol Museum recently launched a group exhibition called “Fantasy America” that pays homage to the late pop art icon’s series of photographs entitled America. The collection of images, originally published in 1985, features snapshots taken by Warhol during his cross-country travels and in-person encounters over the previous decade. The presentation features interpretations of this influential series through though-provoking pieces by a number of New York-based artists including Nona Faustine, Kambui Olujimi, Pacifico Silano, Naama Tsabar and Chloe Wise.
“This exhibition really explores the America that these individual artists crafted, based off their fantasy Americas, and reflects on the reality of America. The works have timely essence to them because a lot of people who will see the work can really relate to the works, whether they’re film or painting and photography,” curator José Carlos Diaz said in a statement.
The works included in the show reflect the turbulent socio-political time that we are currently living in while evoking the artists’ own personal experiences. For instance, Chloe Wise’s Alternative Facts (2020) video installation, the artist reimagines Kellyanne Conway’s speeches through a television that’s washed up on a deserted beach. With this piece, the artist sheds light on the absurdities of popular culture that merges political issues with entertainment. In another work, Nona Faustine reflects on the societal tension through her series of photographs called My Country where she manipulates images to raise awareness on violence against Black individuals.
“Everybody has their own America, and then they have the pieces of a fantasy America that they think is out there but they can’t see,” Warhol once wrote, as per the museum. “When I was little, I never left Pennsylvania and I used to have fantasies about things that I thought were happening in the Midwest or down South or in Texas that I felt I was missing out on. But you can only live life in one place at a time. And your own life while it’s happening never has any atmosphere until it’s a memory. So the fantasy corners of America seem so atmospheric because you’ve pieced them together from scenes in movies and music and lines from books. And you live in your dream America that you’ve custom-made from art and schmaltz and emotions just as much as you live in your real one.”
The exhibition is currently on view through August 30. Head to the Andy Warhol Museum’s website for information.
Elsewhere in art, The Hole NYC recently announced its second space in Tribeca featuring extended programming of presentations by both emerging and established artists from its Bowery flagship.