The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Andy Warhol, Catholic

A new exhibit in Brooklyn is throwing a spotlight on a side of the artist most people might not know about.

From Reuters:

Andy-Warhol.jpgAs a pop art pioneer, Andy Warhol blazed his way to fame with trademark Brillo soap pad boxes and silk-screens of Campbell’s Soup cans.

But a new museum exhibit shows pop art was just a seven-year phase for Warhol in the 1960s, before his 1980s plunge into abstract art and Christian imagery, particularly his versions of “The Last Supper.”


Flippant, brazen and flamboyant as an art world personality, Warhol long kept private his devout, lifelong Catholicism.

“Only his closest confidants knew he was a religious person and frequently went to Mass,” said Sharon Matt Atkins, coordinating curator of the Brooklyn Museum exhibit “Andy Warhol: The Last Decade,” which opens on June 18.

Little known is that Warhol attended church in the plush, Upper East Side of Manhattan, a world away from his famed downtown Factory studio complex, frequented by the eccentric and outlandish,

In his middle age, he began exploring religious themes in his art.

“After Warhol turned 50, he began a reassessment of his career,” Atkins said. “We also start to see Warhol reflecting on the inevitability of his own death.”


In the year before he died — at age 58 in 1987 — Warhol created more than 100 works that were offshoots of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” fresco in Milan.

“For an artist obsessed with death … the Lord’s final repast functioned as the consummate disaster painting,” Joseph Ketner said in the exhibition catalog,

“The image of Christ and disciples obsessed him,” added Ketner, who curated the show for the Milwaukee Art Museum, where the exhibition was first on view.

Check out more at the link. And there’s more about the exhibit at the Brooklyn Musuem website.

Comments read comments(13)
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Fr. Gene Vavrick

posted June 12, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Greg, I seem to recall that A. Warhol grew up near Pittsburgh, PA, and was in fact a Catholic of the Byzantine Rite. Check it out!
Fr. Gene
[You are correct, Gene — the article touches on that. Dcn. G.]

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Elizabeth Mahlou

posted June 13, 2010 at 4:03 am

Thanks for sharing this. I had no idea.

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Lee Meyers

posted June 13, 2010 at 9:57 am

Awesome Article on Andy Warhol! Thanks for the post!

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james hughes

posted June 13, 2010 at 7:01 pm

I had no idea that Andy Warhol was catholic and more to the point was sincere about it. I should be praying for forgiveness because I always thought he was anti-religious.

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posted June 14, 2010 at 2:00 am

It goes to show you that the catholic church claims anyone who belongs to it are saved. Which in actual fact the reverse is true

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Just ~Dave

posted June 14, 2010 at 6:54 am

@Wayne: I will pray for you my friend! Your post shows that anti-Catholics often don’t read carefully and spout half-truths: the article claimed he was Catholic, not that he was saved. The one, holy, catholic and apostolic has the fullness of truth and the means for salvation since Christ established her as his bride, and promised her guidance into all truth by the Advocate. It’s up to each person to accept and participate in that saving gift that Jesus earned and gives to each of us. Peace be with you.

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posted June 14, 2010 at 6:39 pm

Attending a Catholic Church regularly may “expose” you to the truth, just as visiting a smallpox ward would expose you to smallpox. But if the exposure doesn’t “take” and affect your life, then no benefit. The message of Jesus was often “reform your lives; the Kingdom of God is near!”
If you hear the message but don’t heed, did the hearing do you any good?

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posted June 14, 2010 at 9:42 pm

disregard what i just said hahahahaha

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posted July 20, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Prolific Playwright Larry Myers
deals with Warholian Catholicism in his
“Love Finds Andy Warhol”
unveiling on August 6
natal day of warhol
Myers is from neck of the woods Warhol was from!
This is part of
Global Fringe Festival
Dr Myers teaches at St John’s U & runs an
International Playwriting Center

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susan miller myerson

posted July 22, 2010 at 9:27 am

Prolific Playwright Larry Myers is indeed friends of
nephew Jamie Warhola
& is knowledegable about Warhol’s
Catholic beliefs.
.Warhol went weekly to Mass..warhol was kind to family leaving them money..
brother buried by same undertaker
as prolific playwright Myers’ MOM
Dr Myers is theater arts expert
& friends with MANY Warhol actors & writers

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roy williams

posted July 22, 2010 at 9:38 am

Playwright Larry Myers is friend of Jamie Warhola nephew of Warhol
& grew up in same area..his Mom was on view at same undertaker’s funeral home as Jamie’s Dad..his play is a mystic exploration of Warholian perception & religious fascination–
“Love Finds Andy Warhol” celebrating natal day of Andy Warhol
Dr Myers knowledgeable, objective, spiritual get-the-facts expert

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posted November 17, 2011 at 8:09 am

How did Warhol reconcile his art and his way of life with the precepts of Catholicism,or, did he? Was it some sort of sentimental attachment to the faith of his childhood ,or, was he really a serious believer?iS THERE ANYONE OUT THERE FAMILIAR WITH THIS ASPECT OF WARHOL’S PERSONALITY?

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