The Warsaw Voice » Culture » Monthly - July 18, 2017
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Palace of (Pop) Culture
Work by pop art pioneer Andy Warhol and surrealist painter Salvador Dali is on show at the Palace of Culture and Science, introducing Warsaw audiences to the two artists’ take on money, fame and splendor.

The Dali vs. Warhol: Art, Music, Film exhibition comprises 120 original works of art on loan from private art collections and foundations. Some of the items have been put on public display for the first time ever.

Exhibition curator Stach Szabłowski describes Dali and Warhol as two great 20th-century individuals who explored art from painting to movies and design. “They were also some of the most controversial artists of their time,” Szabłowski adds. “Both spent years carefully shaping their public image and the world around them, which eventually turned them into celebrated artists. This exhibition probes the secrets behind their success, studying their similarities and differences.”

According to Szabłowski, the two artists were much alike in that they both were extremely fond of money, using it as a measure of success. Dali even earned himself the nickname of Avida Dollars (based on French for “eager for dollars”), a rather derogatory anagram of his first and last names. Warhol, in turn, used to say he loved money so much that instead of a USD 200,000 painting, he would rather have banknotes hanging on his walls.

Money is what welcomes you as you enter the exhibition through a symbolical gate adorned with swirling banknotes. Your route then takes you through a Marilyn Monroe Gate to a Pop Cinema Room, a reference to Dali and Warhol’s iconic movies. The room contains the artists’ original graphic works, sculptures and album sleeves Warhol designed for the likes of The Rolling Stones and The Velvet Underground. While in the room, check out rows of busts with Warhol’s wigs and the famous Dali mustache on them. Other noteworthy items The Temptation of St. Anthony by Salvador Dali from 1946, a series of Dali’s horse-themed graphic works and pictures he drew of Don Quixote when Walt Disney had plans to make an animated feature on Don Quixote featuring Dali himself. Another item worth checking out in the Pop Cinema Room is the famous Mae West Lips Sofa modeled on the American blonde bombshell’s facial features.

Your next stop is a replica of the Factory studio in New York City, where Andy Warhol worked in the 1960s socializing with the local bohemians. You will also see two original portraits of Marilyn Monroe that Warhol made shortly after the star took her own life.

In addition to your vision and hearing, the exhibition at the Palace of Culture and Science works on your sense of smell, especially in the Dali Scent Shrine. The exit from the exhibition takes you through the Gate of Chupa Chups, the lollipop brand whose logo was designed by Dali.

The well-known Polish comedian and satirist Szymon Majewski, who is the exhibition’s “ambassador,” points to the significance of the venue. “The Palace of Culture—which to many is a controversial building as a communist relic—has brought together two icons of commercialism and art in one,” says Majewski. “They have now turned the Palace of Culture into one of Pop Culture. Dali and Warhol are removing the curse.”

The exhibition is on show until Oct. 7, open 9 a.m.-7 p.m.