Warhol pops in at the Mac
Legendary artist’s iconic works arrive in Belfast for exhibition
He coined the phrase “everyone will have 15 minutes of fame”, but the painstaking operation to open Andy Warhol’s first major exhibition in Northern Ireland took a little longer.
The strategic operation to transport the collection of contemporary masterpieces — worth tens of millions of pounds — from England to the Mac Theatre in Belfast involved a team of experts and specialist vehicles.
Famous for his iconic 1960s pop art prints of Marilyn Monroe and Campbell's Soup tins, the Warhol exhibition opens to the public on February 8.
The collection of 90 paintings by the artist — whose New-York based career spanned 40 years — include acclaimed works of Chairman Mao, Mickey Mouse and a hamburger.
Spanning three galleries, the Mac will also play host to a range of pop art events, including a Studio 54 disco night featuring an original resident DJ from the club.
A partnership between the Mac and the Tate Modern's Artist Rooms on Tour scheme brought the pieces to the city.
The collection — some held in Tate storage space and others in Hull — was carefully driven to Liverpool in a climate-controlled van on Monday before it was ferried to Belfast, arriving at the Mac on Tuesday morning.
After being carefully positioned the full collection was left in carrying cases until Tuesday night.
On Wednesday morning a team from the Mac and the Tate delicately removed the artworks from their cases, positioned them and filled in condition reports throughout the day, noting any minor changes from the last time each piece was exhibited.
Among the works for display is Warhol's depiction of a one dollar bill which he completed it in the 1960s, but in 1981 he returned to the imagery and completed a whole series of drawings and paintings on the subject.
Hugh Mulholland, curator of the Mac explained: “Each individual work came in a carrying frame which then has plastic sheeting across it — so it is secure and visible.
“Some of these works are large- scale and our art handlers have to move the work in a very particular way around the space, so it is like a kind of choreography the way you handle the work,” he added.
The exhibition will run until April 28 and admission is free, although live events are ticketed.
For more information about the exhibition and events log on to www.themaclive.com