The chance to host an exhibition of Andy Warhol works at the Scottish Parliament caused Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick to choke on her soup, she has admitted.
Iconic images by the legendary American artist went on show at Holyrood today, some of them being seen in Scotland for the first time.
More than 9000 people have already booked to see the exhibition, entitled Andy Warhol: Pop, Power and Politics.
Among the works on show are famous portraits of Richard Nixon, Lenin, Mao and the Queen.
Opening the exhibition, Ms Marwick, said the show had come about after she had lunch with bosses of the Andy Warhol Museum and Carnegie UK Trust when she was in New York for Scotland Week last year. She said: “Completely out of the blue they asked me if I would like to hold a Warhol exhibition in the parliament.
“After choking on my soup I thought about this for a millisecond and said ‘yes please’. It would have been rude to say no. Who wouldn’t like to host a Warhol exhibition?”
She said since then everyone had worked tirelessly to make the exhibition happen.
She added: “I feel like a child in a sweetie shop faced with so many iconic images.
“We are proud to host these unique artworks in our unique parliament, which is itself an artwork.”
It is the first exhibition of Warhol’s work to be staged in a parliamentary building and includes a number of iconic works never shown before in Scotland.
The finished show is a collaboration between the Scottish Parliament, Carnegie UK Trust and the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.
Matt Wrbican, chief archivist at the museum, said: “The items represent the full scope of Andy Warhol’s life and art.
“He had a life about half as long as Picasso, but yet he made as many artworks as Picasso – and there was no subject he was afraid of. He would take it all on.”
One of the Scottish Parliament’s committee rooms has been impressively transformed into an art gallery for the show.
The works on display include a series of screen prints about the assassination of US President John F Kennedy in 1963.
And there are also representations of teleprinter texts documenting the shocking day’s events as they unfolded in Dallas.
Also on show are three 1964 box sculptures – Heinz tomato ketchup, Campbell’s tomato juice and Del Monte peach halves.
To coincide with the exhibition, two portraits of Andy Warhol by internationally acclaimed Scottish photographer Harry Benson have been loan to the parliament and are displayed in the UK for the first time.
The exhibition runs until November 3. Free e-tickets are available from 10am and 5pm daily (late nights on Thursdays to 8pm). Booking is recommended.
Campbell’s cans an icon of pop art
WARHOL, who once famously said everyone in the future will be “world-famous for 15 minutes”, produced his most iconic artwork in 1962.
The canvas print 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans is one of the defining pop art masterpieces.
One of the highlights of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, it is described as a “must-see” for history of art students the world over.
“When Warhol first exhibited these Campbell’s Soup Cans in 1962, they were displayed together on shelves, like products in a grocery aisle,” a spokesman for the gallery said. The nod to consumerism in all its forms became one of the central motifs of the painter’s career.