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Warhol tour begins in Russia

Russia’s first Andy Warhol exhibition has opened at the State Hermitage Museum

St Petersburg

Russia’s first Andy Warhol exhibition has opened at the State Hermitage Museum, sponsored by the US State Department, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and the German car makers, BMW, which have lent their 1979 M1 model painted by Warhol. BMW also announced during the opening that they will be a permanent corporate sponsor of the Hermitage. While Russian artists over the age of 30 are familiar with Warhol (both Boris Grebenshikov, a famous singer/songwriter and the conceptual artist Sergei Bugayev, better known by his nickname, Afrika, knew Warhol), the impact will be considerable on youngsters or those who have only seen his work in books. According to the museum, most visitors to the Warhol exhibition are under twenty-five. “Everywhere it travels, it has an influence on the local art scene,” says Thomas Sokolowski, director of the Warhol Museum. Warhol’s works will tour twelve cities in eastern and southern Europe, including Moscow, Bratislava, Kiev, Vilnius, Zagreb, and Istanbul. In honour of the Hermitage show, Timur Novikov’s New Academy gallery in the art cooperative Pushkinskaya 10 is hosting a mini exhibition, with items given to St Petersburg artists by Warhol. These include empty Campbell soup cans signed by Warhol, which he had sent to the artists when Russia was faced with food shortages in the late 80s. Although the contents were eagerly consumed, the autographed cans were not thrown away.