If you have a taste for the macabre and are a fan of Pop Art painting legend Andy Warhol, Unix Gallery (532 W 24th St) in Chelsea is offering you an opportunity to indulge both passions, courtesy Spanish artist Eugenio Merino’s creepy installation, Here Died Warhol, going on view April 26.
Its centerpiece is a life-size hyperrealistic sculpture of Warhol's corpse dressed in black, stretched out on a white plinth with a reproduction of his gravestone sitting in front on the floor. The installation also includes a functioning souvenir shop selling T-shirts, postcards and mugs, along with self-guided tour maps of places around NYC associated with Warhol, like the Factory.
Merino describes the piece as a critique of the tourism industry, and it's probably true that if Warhol had been preserved and interred à la Lenin's Tomb in the middle of, say, Union Square (where the second and most famous iteration of the Factory stood), there would have been lines around the block waiting to get in. As it is, this show will have to do.
Andy Warhol died on February 22, 1987 after gall bladder surgery at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. Though it seemed surprising at the time, he had a family history of gall bladder problems, and had been ill for a month before going in for treatment—something he’d put off because of a phobia for hospitals he developed after being shot and nearly killed by radical feminist Valerie Solanas in 1968.
After his death, Warhol’s body was returned to his hometown of Pittsburgh, where, in lieu of a mausoleum, he rests in piece in a simple plot at St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cemetery. Here Died Warhol, meanwhile, is at Unix Gallery until June 9.