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Andy Warhol
Velvet Rage and Beauty

09.06.2024 to 06.10.2024
Neue Nationalgalerie

Andy Warhol is arguably one of the most widely known and discussed artists of the twentieth century. While his depictions of consumer products and celebrities became household famous, there is a newly identified red thread through his career, starting in the late 1940s until his untimely death in the 1980s: a continuous searching to visualize his ideal of beauty, mostly male beauty, finding form and creating lasting images of what Warhol desired. Neue Nationalgalerie is for the first time putting together a large survey focused on Warhol’s search for a certain ideal beauty and shows that it is a central aspect and red thread throughout the artist’s different production phases and stages of career, from the 1940s to the 1980s. Bringing together more than 300 works, paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, Polaroids, films and collages, the exhibition allows an expansive and inclusive insight into a Warhol, that during his lifetime never had a real “coming-out”.

From the early drawings to his screen tests and films in 1960s, the torso paintings in the 1970s, through his collaborations with Jean-Michel Basquiat in 1980s, and countless photographs throughout all periods, there is a constant exploration to express this ideal and quest for beauty. When one looks closely and deeply at Warhol’s work, it becomes apparent that his artistic practice is intimately engaged with the body. In all mediums, he provocatively explores the body’s beauty and flaws, fragility and strength, as well as his own insecurities and torments in many self-portraits. During his lifetime many of these works on the human body were either considered inappropriate, immoral, deviant – or even pornographic or illegal. As a result, many of these works received little exposure in the art world and never became known to a wider public.

In addition to the Double Elvis, 1963, from the Nationalgalerie, Marx Collection, special international loans are from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Mugrabi Collection, NYC, mumok – Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, as well as numerous loans from The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh.

The exhibition Andy Warhol: Velvet Rage and Beauty takes its title as an homage to the book The Velvet Rage (2005) by Alan Downs that describes how it feels to grow up and live as a gay man in a predominantly straight world. Warhol died in 1987 at the age of only fifty-eight. He left an incredibly complex and influential body of work, but during his lifetime never experienced the open acceptance that we now have to look at these specific bodies of work. As this openness to queerness seems at risk again today through changes in so many societies, the exhibition takes on Berlin in 2024 as a window of opportunity, to bring these works together for the first and hopefully not for the last time.

Note: This exhibition features very explicit nudity, sexual content, and diverse representations of gender and the body. If you plan to visit with children or young people, we recommend doing so together and maintaining an open dialogue.

Curatorial Team

The exhibition is curated by Klaus Biesenbach, director of the Neue Nationalgalerie, with Lisa Botti, co-curator.

Curatorial assistance and project management: Nikola Richolt.


The exhibition is made possible by the Freunde der Nationalgalerie.

A special exhibition by the Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

ANDY WARHOL, Ladies and Gentlemen (Ivette and Lurdes), 1975 Mugrabi Collection
© 2024 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Intime Blicke


Gespräch | 60 Minuten | Kosten 30 €

Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait in Drag, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh
© 2024 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. 2024 / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Rote Lippen


Projekttag | 180 Minuten | Kosten 90 €

© © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Marcus Glahn
Andy Warhol – Ideal Beauty | guided tour of the special exhibition

Neue Nationalgalerie
Guided tour (60 min)

Maarten van Heemskerck, Lower Statue Courtyard of the Casa Gallo, detail, c. 1532–1536
Photo credit: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett / Dietmar Katz

Potsdamer Straße 50
10785 Berlin

wheelchair accessible

U-Bahn: Potsdamer Platz
S-Bahn: Potsdamer Platz
Bus: Potsdamer Brücke, Potsdamer Platz Bhf / Voßstraße, Kulturforum, Philharmonie

Sun 10:00 - 18:00
Mon closed
Tue 10:00 - 18:00
Wed 10:00 - 18:00
Thu 10:00 - 20:00
Fri 10:00 - 18:00
Sat 10:00 - 18:00

Opening times on public holidays Opening Hours

Annual Ticket from 25,00 EUR
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