Art Attack

Pop Goes the Warhol

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Controversy arose when a German museum sold the two works by Andy Warhol to the United States.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    What happens if a casino owned by the finance ministry sells works of art – can the proceeds go to state public art institutions?

  • Facts


    • Andy Warhol, the father of pop art, created works which reproduced iconic popular culture motifs in the United States.
    • The German constitution includes a requirement to protect and maintain art works which are owned by the state.
    • North Rhine-Westphalia, a state in Germany, fears that it will not get any proceeds from the sale of two works by Andy Warhol, art fans have voiced concerns.
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The way a casino is decorated is not always what gets people most excited.

But now one casino’s interior design choices have Germany’s art scene up in arms.

Ever since it became known that Westdeutsche Spielbanken casino planned to ask Christie’s to auction two valuable works by Andy Warhol, the father of pop art, art fans and institutions have been outraged.

Now, 26 directors of museums and galleries in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia have written a three-page letter to the state’s premier and ministers.

The letter explains why the two works, “Triple Elvis” and “Four Marlons,” should not be sold.

The casino originally bought the silk screens, showing Elvis Presley and Marlon Brando, in 1977 and 1978 for decoration.

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