You would not be mistaken in thinking that an exhibit about Marilyn Monroe herself was coming to Dublin. Over sixty years after her death, her iconic image adorns the sides of Dublin buses, lamppost flags on Parliament Street, and posters draped across the Liffey bridges. But Monroe will in fact be paying the Fair City a visit through the canvasses of Andy Warhol, a figure as divisive as he was influential.

Hugh Lane Gallery, located in Parnell Square in Dublin’s city centre, less than a five-minute walk from O’Connell Street, is opening its doors to the public for its newest exhibition ‘Andy Warhol, Three Times Out’, the largest ever Andy Warhol exhibition in Ireland. The exhibit will showcase over 250 of Warhol’s works, including his portraits of the aforementioned actress Marilyn Monroe, as well as portraits of iconic figures such as Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, and Chairman Mao, to name but a few.

The Hugh Lane Gallery is no stranger to modern and contemporary art with multiple exhibitions in recent years showcasing Irish artists such as Frank O’Meara, Francis Bacon and Niamh McCann. The gallery already boasts a number of impressionist works such as Manet and Pissarro and is the home of Francis Bacon’s studio.

This Warhol exhibition is five years in the making, with Barbara Dawson, director of Hugh Lane Gallery stating how Warhol’s work “utterly changed the way the world experiences art”. She added that Ireland’s world-renowned appreciation and nurturing of art was a contributing factor in the international art world giving us these works from museums all over the globe.

Once inside the gallery, you will see all of Warhol’s most famous works: the Campbell Soup Cans, Warhol’s Flowers, Brillo Boxes, plus various early sketches and silkscreen works.

Visitors can also experience Warhol’s immersive Silver Clouds sculpture which encompasses an entire room.

Even though most of the gallery is dedicated to this exhibition some Irish art remains which creates an entertaining contrast, with the old seemingly being engulfed by the new. There is also a room displaying the relationship between Warhol’s work and the work of Francis Bacon.

There is something for everyone at the Warhol exhibition. Warhol’s work transcends age, something which he himself would have thought of as mundane.

The colours of a Chairman Mao portrait may captivate a child, while its subject matter may intrigue those who are older. One thing is for sure, Warhol’s work and Hugh Lane’s exhibit will undoubtedly entertain any who visit.

The Exhibition provides an excellent, relatively cheap way to pass a couple of hours – perfect for exam time procrastination – while offering the chance to visit one of the world’s most iconic artists on Irish soil. An opportunity not to be missed!

Tickets are €15 for adults, €10 for students, and €6 for children. The exhibit will run from October 6th, 2023, until the 28th of January 2024.

John O’Connor – A&L Writer