Dublin gallery to host country’s largest ever Warhol exhibition

From October, the Hugh Lane Gallery will showcase more than 250 of the artist’s works

The largest ever Andy Warhol exhibition, and the first to open in Ireland in 25 years, will run from October 6th to January 28th, 2024, at Hugh Lane Gallery.

Andy Warhol Three Times Out has been five years in the making and includes more than 250 works on loan from the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and from other museums and private collections in the United States, Canada and Europe.

The exhibition is curated by Barbara Dawson, the director of Hugh Lane Gallery, and Michael Dempsey, the head of exhibitions, who say the show – which is a collaboration between Dublin City Council and the gallery – is the most exciting in the arts calendar this year.

The exhibition will showcase a broad number of works, including Warhol’s iconic Campbell’s Soup Cans, Flowers and portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Kennedy and Chairman Mao. Also to feature are the artist’s self-portraits along with skulls, electric chairs and avant-garde films, namely Empire, Sleep, Kiss and Outer and Inner Space.


In addition, visitors to the exhibition, which Dublin City Council expects to have both Irish and international appeal, will experience Warhol’s Silver Clouds sculpture.

Floating metallic pillows that hover in space are filled with a specific mixture of air and helium allowing them to float mid-air but not to touch the ceiling. Changes in barometric pressure, interaction with visitors as well as the clouds crashing into one another and valve malfunction are just some of the variables that dictate when the gravity-defying clouds need further inflation.

The first Silver Clouds installation was in 1966 and served to challenge the concept that art was meant only to be viewed from afar and not experienced by physical touch.

Unique to the show will be a section that focuses on the work and collaborations both Warhol and Francis Bacon had with acclaimed US artist and photographer Peter Beard, “provoking new thinking on the status of these two titans of the 20th century,” according to gallery notes.

Born in Pittsburgh to Slovakian immigrant parents, Warhol became one of the leading commercial artists in the US and one of the defining figures of 20th-century art. He established the legendary Silver Factory in the 1960s, which became a melting pot of creativity.

Visitors to the Factory, as it became known, included Salvador Dalí, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Truman Capote and the band The Velvet Underground, who Warhol promoted and produced. Here, cultural producers met, showcased and collaborated within the space, so-called silver for the tinfoil lining on the walls. The mixed bag of socialisers to the Factory also served as willing impromptu participants in his films (which he began in 1965).

His last major show in Ireland was at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in 1997, which stated at the time: “Warhol challenged preconceived notions about the nature of art, thereby erasing traditional distinctions between fine art and popular culture.”

That exhibition had 100 of the artists’ works displayed. This exhibition is more than double in size, and will showcase the personal trajectory of the artist amid the rapid expansion of New York’s cultural underground from the 1960s to the 1980s.


Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about property, fine arts, antiques and collectables