The Cadillac-produced, traveling “Letters to Andy Warhol” exhibition is now calling a small but opulent wing of the grand Deutsches Museum home, under the title of Cadillac House Munich. One of the more well-received private exhibitions in NYC, the show’s move to the German city is notable: Cadillac’s presence in the heart of Bavaria—home town to automotive pillar BMW—makes a statement: a luxury American brand staking a flag in the heart of Deutschland is nothing if not bold.
But Cadillac has big goals, and it’s positioning art and fashion through pop-up Cadillac Houses as a ways to achieve them. While the a New York House in SoHo is permanent the Munich edition is temporary. It’s also only the second pop up, the first being a weekend-long installation at last summer’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. After its NYC premiere (with a limited sneak peak on the 2016 Summit at Sea), “Letters to Andy Warhol” visited Miami and Los Angeles, and features five pieces of Warhol’s private correspondence as well as many of his works. This temporary Cadillac House gallery also doubles as a concept dealership, presenting ways that a showroom in the future might sell cars via VR and 3D. This particular aspect was developed exclusively for the Cadillac House Munich, and made its debut here.
It’s fitting that Cadillac built its House in the Deutsches Museum—the world’s largest celebration of science and technology (with over 1.5 million visitors per year)—as GM’s flagship brand, whose very design language is dubbed “Art and Science,” has long wished to marry art and science in an organic manner. The fact the museum once hosted concerts by cultural icons like Jimi Hendrix and The Who only furthers this mission. “We were looking for a brand that really could be integrated with Warhol, and Warhol actually drew and painted Cadillacs, so it was a very natural integration to work with them,” Patrick Moore, director of the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, tells CH. “And Cadillac also is this classic American brand. When Warhol was growing up in Pittsburgh he was very poor, he was part of a poor immigrant family, so Cadillac for the Warhols would have been this unimaginable realization of the American dream.”
Cars are at the very heart of American culture
Beyond the exhibit’s five eponymous letters, there are six images loaned to Cadillac including a playful 1958 Coupe de Ville illustration commissioned for a 1962 issue of Harper’s Bazaar. There’s also a sketch of a 1963 Fleetwood Special that’s also repeated screen printing style for one of the most defining pieces of the exhibit, the aptly titled “Seven Cadillacs.” Moore says, “Warhol actually has cars as something that comes up again and again in his work, in different ways.” Of course the artist’s connection to cars was not defined to Cadillacs alone—his BMW Art Car is, after all, one of the most famous vehicles in the entire Art Car series. Moore explains, “Cars are at the very heart of American culture.”
Besides the Cadillac-oriented offerings, the private letters are the most illuminating view into the world of the famously reticent artist. There are letters from Mick Jagger and Truman Capote, and a hilarious rejection letter from MoMA. One from Yves Saint Laurent addresses rumors that the designer hated the portrait Warhol made of him. It is brilliant in its words and aesthetic simplicity, stating in elegant strokes of pen:
Just a note about these
Stupid rumors in W. W. about
I love them
I admire you
I am your friend
From Munich the “Letters to Andy Warhol” exhibit will move on to a temporary Cadillac House in Dubai December 2017.
Images courtesy of Cadillac House