Text Cesare Cunaccia
Milan at that time was truly in its da bere phase (the city’s cocktail and partying scene). Andy Warhol was commissioned the work by passionate art merchant of Greek origin, Alexander Iolas, a former dancer and magnificent adventurer who wore extravagant, unforgettable ensembles, partly Erté, partly Alice Cooper tinged with Byzance, who owned galleries in various parts of the globe, including NYC and Milan. In January 1987 a big show was held at the Stelline, a few steps away from the mystical and fragile fresco from Leonardo, which displayed a number of large-sized canvasses.
Andy Warhol’s Last Supper is back in Milan, at the Museo del Novecento thanks to Larry Gagosian’s international Über-gallery, with an exhibition called Sixty Last Suppers, featuring Jessica Beck as associated curator. A mosaic that juxtaposes and repeats the evangelical scene for as many as sixty times, in black and white, on a sort of composite and obsessive totem-wall. Here, this play on repetition of the image of the Cenacolo takes on again a strange hieratic vibe, a sudden sense of the sacred, despite the deactivation of the original spiritual significance through repetition. Warhol died a month after the exhibition’s opening, which, therefore, remains the last historic stage of his path.
At the Museo del Novecento Sixty Last Suppers establishes a conversation with the dazzling and rapturous neon structures from Lucio Fontana that unravel on the ceiling and that, all of a sudden, take on again a subtle Michelangelo-esque taste of challenge, antithesis and fusion. The host, charming Pepi Marchetti Franchi, Director of Rome’s Gagosian Gallery, flawless, diligent and tactful as usual, added, meanwhile, an exoteric touch to the event, telling us that, while looking for the original book, and after various libraries refused to loan it, the Gagosian Gallery were fortunate enough to purchase one in Viterbo, an ex libris from the early 1900s belonging to a Mr. Carnegie who lived in Allegheny City, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the city, by coincidence, where old Andy was born.
A long, heartfelt and due homage was paid also by the profanes and the ubiquitous, show-off crowd – less than usual, actually, almost non-existent – before the artwork, that stands out on the panoramic, multi-windowed fifth floor of the Museo del Novecento, entirely dedicated to the synthetic and startling creations from Lucio Fontana. All of a sudden, as if to further enhance the general ecclesiastical post-council 70s atmosphere, something that the late Cardinal Lercaro would have appreciated, a number of priests appeared, clad in their flawless ivory-toned robes. A dinner at the Giacomo Arengario restaurant followed.