Galleria Nazionale D'Arte Moderna

I don’t come to Rome for its modernity, so it never occurred to me to visit the city’s National Gallery of Modern Art until a friend invited me to check out the Warhol exhibit. The selection, mostly work based on newspaper headlines, was OK. What I found most shocking was an issue of a real newspaper from the time, The New York Journal-American, that reported on a deranged woman who stabbed Martin Luther King, Jr. in the chest with a steel letter opener. How was that allowed to happen?! He was rushed to surgery and nearly died. He was 29.

Another thing that shocked me: Andy Warhol died in 1987. I’m sure I knew that at some point, but I forgot and imagined him living and dying in ancient times, long before I came around. I was a kid in 1987! He was friends with Madonna and Sean Penn, people I knew about. Something I didn’t know: He had a TV show on MTV, Andy Warhol’s 15 Minutes, as well as another program on New York’s public access. The museum showed clips from both, including an interview about Afghanistan conducted by Maura Moynihan with her father, the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Warhol’s TV work is fascinating and I’m sorry I missed the Hayward Gallery exhibit that featured all of it. I need to find his TV interviews–described as maddening but intoxicating–on DVD!

Collaboration with Basquiat.

Ercole e Lica. Italy has produced such amazing artists throughout the ages. I definitely plan on revisiting this museum. Hopefully, next time I won’t get lost on my way through Villa Borghese (thanks for nothing, Google!).