LEGAL ACTION THREATENED AS KOŠICE EXHIBITION OPENS

Bust-up over Warhol project

The 82nd anniversary of the birthday of Andy Warhol, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, was celebrated in Košice on August 6 with the opening of an exhibition entitled Andy Warhol and Julia. It portrays the relationship between the eccentric artist and his mother – but it has been overshadowed by a dispute between authors and curators which looks set to go to court.

The 82nd anniversary of the birthday of Andy Warhol, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, was celebrated in Košice on August 6 with the opening of an exhibition entitled Andy Warhol and Julia. It portrays the relationship between the eccentric artist and his mother – but it has been overshadowed by a dispute between authors and curators which looks set to go to court.

“Lawyers from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in New York are looking into the whole situation,” Michal Bycko, president of the (Slovak) Andy Warhol Society told the Sme daily.

The Košice exhibition was supposed to have been part of project called Andy Warhol and Czechoslovakia, and was to have been the venue for Slovak photographer Rudo Prekop and Czech artist Michal Cihlář to present their book, which also carries the title Andy Warhol and Czechoslovakia.

However, although Košice’s Eastern Slovak Gallery, which is hosting the exhibition, obtained a grant towards the project, the book remains unpublished. And Prekop, who came up with the original display concept, says the exhibition is incomplete.

The gallery withdrew from the original project because of what gallery director Lena Lešková called the unprofessional attitude of its partners, Sme reported. Lešková said the gallery had managed to raise only €6,000 towards the costs of publishing the book, partly because the authors had failed to come up with a draft to show to potential sponsors, and because copyright issues remained unresolved. However, the authors say copyright issues were not an issue given the early stage of preparation.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Slovak Gallery said it was considering suing the Andy Warhol Society for not standing by a contract to lend works of art normally held at the Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art in Medzilaborce, north-eastern Slovakia. However, Bycko, the society’s president responded: “The gallery broke the contract. They completely changed the concept of the exhibition without notifying us.”

Even the author of the original concept, Rudo Prekop, is considering legal action, saying of the project’s current fate: “It’s unpleasant, and hard to come to terms with.”

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