ON VIEW MARCH 5 - AUGUST 30, 2021
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Originally published in 1985, Warhol's America features photographs both taken and collected by the artist during his cross-country travels and in-person encounters over the previous decade. The book, an idiosyncratic love letter to America, finds Warhol reflecting on everything from travel, beauty, and fame to politics, technology, and the American Dream.
Three decades later, the exhibition Fantasy America invites artists Nona Faustine, Kambui Olujimi, Pacifico Silano, Naama Tsabar, and Chloe Wise to revisit this seminal publication and contribute through their own artistic practices. All New York-based, they, much like Warhol, are cross-disciplinary artists drawn to the use of repetition, seriality, and image appropriation in their work. Each of these five artists produces work that blurs the boundaries between form and material, offering a complex picture of contemporary American life.
The works these artists have created are indelibly tied to our tumultuous present moment. Nona Faustine confronts modern injustices through photography centered on public monuments and civic buildings that relate to hidden African American histories. Kambui Olujimi addresses nationhood and the colonization of bodies, land, time, and space, surfacing buried political pasts. Pacifico Silano collages vintage gay men's magazines to explore love and loss in queer culture and community. Naama Tsabar uses her body and sound compositions to perform outside the boundaries of gender norms with an array of female and gender non-conforming collaborators. Chloe Wise deconstructs advertising and audience through staged narratives to reveal tenuously manufactured social contracts and constructs.
Several years in planning, Fantasy America echoes the current moment of political upheaval and social reckoning. Against the backdrop of nationwide protests in the wake of George Floyd's murder by police, the Black Lives Matter movement, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the presidential election, these works probe and challenge our perceptions of what America is and what it can become. Like Warhol, the artists in this exhibition hold a mirror to society, reflecting the country at a critical juncture in history.
Fantasy America is curated by José Carlos Diaz, chief curator at The Warhol. The exhibition includes a full-color publication with contributions from Diaz, Jessica Lanay Moore, and Alan Pelaez Lopez.
Fantasy America is presented by Bank of America and generously supported by Artis; the Arts, Equity, & Education Fund; the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; The Fine Foundation, the Sheila Reicher Fine Foundation; Richard King Mellon Foundation; Joshua Hagen & Todd Kratofil; Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and Allegheny Health Network.