Pop Goes the Naples Musuem

by Monty Montgomery

Myra Janco Daniels, the energy, spirit, and visionary behind The Philharmonic Center for the Arts in Naples and the Naples Museum of Art, considers ‘The Prints of Andy Warhol’ exhibition “a major retrospective of works from his truly phenomenal career.”

How did the exhibition come together?
Myra Janco Daniels: About five years ago, knowing some museum people, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Thomas Sokolowski, the curator for Andy Warhol at the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, who owns this whole thing. And I was bold enough at that time—even before we had opened our museum—to say, “Do you think we could do an Andy Warhol show?” He said, “Of course we can!”

It’s taken all that time to negotiate and make arrangements for this show of sixty-one very special Andy Warhol works. Carnegie Pittsburgh has a fabulous collection of them and this selection makes a very nice grouping. The earliest ones are from when he was just beginning to get hot. There’s everything from Liz Taylor and Marilyn to the very famous Cow, the famous Flowers, and the Campbell’s Soup that he did in ’69, Camouflage, the famous Mao poster that he did in 1974, and Jane Fonda in ’82. They are silkscreen prints, lithographs and works on paper, including Jackie O and his Electric Chair Retrospective from ’73. The Andy Warhol Foundation loaned us his self-portrait, which is wonderful to see. The PNC Financial Services Group is sponsoring the exhibition and receptions here.

Warhol, who lived from 1928 to 1987, arrived in New York from Pittsburgh in 1949 and knew all the people getting started in those days. As a result, the art world and the media were never the same again. In 1960 he really exploded and came to the forefront. His early signature screen prints and lithographs were Cowboys and Indians: Sitting Bull and so on. His great investment images were from 1964 to 1986. Great colorful, exciting pieces of pop art. They’re quite large, they really pop: 58 x 58 [inches], 58 x 73, 115 x 76, etc. Together, they have a wide variety and are the most important of the Warhol iconography.

Globally, Warhol made a tremendous impact because he was not afraid to show anything in his art: soup cans, an electric chair, Marilyn, he had no limits. He brought posters and pop art into our living rooms. We have him to thank for prompting younger minds to collect art, too. In his early days he made art affordable so young people could own it. Possibly you may not like every piece in the show; overall, though, there is something for everyone. They definitely create a world-class event.

Starting February 3, our Naples Art Museum will turn this part of the country on its ear. Close upon our amazing ‘Vasarely’ retrospective, we’re launching ‘Matisse, Picasso and Friends: Impressionism to Surrealism’ with a gala reception, then we open it to the public on February 4. ‘Matisse, Picasso…’ is such a remarkable collection, a genuine once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see masterworks of French painting and sculpture by Van Gogh, Rodin, Degas, Gauguin, Cezanne and others. Naples is one of only three American cities that will be hosting this exhibit. We’re expecting crowds. And then, on February 8, “The Prints of Andy Warhol” debuts. I tell you honestly, there’s no better time and place to see great art this season than the Naples Museum of Art.

And what are you planning for future seasons?

Well, we are working on shows two and three years ahead. I could tell you what they are, but I won’t, because it takes the excitement away. You’ll just have to come and let your dazzled eyes see for themselves! •

from the January-February 2005 issue

"We have him to thank him
for prompting younger minds
to collect art, too.

The Prints of Andy Warhol
February 8-April 3
Naples Museum of Art
5833 Pelican Bay Blvd. • Naples