A young man wearing glasses and a tie poses in front of an animated painting of the Virgin Mary. Sitting on his knees with his hands clasped in prayer, he loudly shares his ambitions: to break into New York circles and make a lot of money. its name ? Andrew Warhola, now known asAndy WarholMaster of pop art.
That’s how it starts problem, Creating the first stage Gus Van Santwas presented at La Villette in December. The director is a big regular in biographies: he directed the last days on me Kurt CobainAnd the Nirvana’s lead singer, W Harvey’s milk Named after the first openly gay American politician. This time, the rise of one of the most influential artists of the 20th century is shown in the form of a musical. “I’ve always found this genre fascinating and interesting,” he explains from his office in New York. I was curious to deal with it as a fan and a newbie. » The light and wonderful dimension of the show, imbued with B sixties, fully assumed. Portuguese actor Diogo Fernandez, interpreter of the icon, wanders from galleries to decadent soirees. He even sets out to choreograph with one of his great friends and models, writer Truman Capote.
The story between Gus Van Sant and Andy Warhol is riddled with missed dates. After graduating in Art from the Rhodes Island School of Design in 1970, the director was raised by an entire generation of graphic directors like Ron Rice, Stan Vanderbeek, and later, Warhol himself. He is not a fan of the pop art master’s work, but is fascinated by the underground animals that run around him. He smiles as he remembers the one time he ever had the chance to cross his path. As a young advertising employee, he had seen Warhol’s silhouette in 1981’s Manhattan. “Between Madison Avenue and 68th Street,” he says. He often came to buy diamonds or antiques in this area. »
Before creating this project in theatre, Gus Van Sant had obviously considered a feature film. In the early 1990s, he even wanted to give the main role to River Phoenix, the star of his previous movie, My Private Idaho (1991). River physically resembles Andy and shares his Eastern European roots. He may not have known Warhol’s story, but he was excited about the role. Unfortunately, the actor died of an overdose in 1993, at the age of 23. The director would have to wait nearly thirty years before That his project be materialized in the form of a musical, to be presented for the first time at the Lisbon Biennale of Contemporary Art in 2021. The dude in dark glasses has lost none of his power of fascination.