Saturday, April 13, 2024

Photo Exhibit Explores Andy Warhol’s Modeling Stint

Last December, visitors to Art Basel were treated to a handful of large-scale, never-before-seen photographers of Andy Warhol. Now, four of these works are enjoying their Palm Beach County premiere at the D’Larosa-Lurie Gallery in Royal Palm Place.

The small show is titled “Andy Warhol: The Model Boy.” In 1985, photographer David Siqueiros had the opportunity to photograph the pop artist in what was to become his latest venture: male modeling.

The two original black-and-white images in “The Model Boy” – one in close-up, the other a full-body shot – show Warhol striking mysterious poses, accompanied by top models from Chanel and Ralph Lauren. The close-up is especially affecting: Siqueiros immortalizes Warhol’s penetrating eyes, cipher-like facial expression and dandyish haircut. If we didn’t immediately recognize Warhol, we might assume he was a male model by profession. (The other two images are the same black-and-white shots retouched with colorful effects; they look striking next to the originals.)

Warhol died 16 months after these images were taken. The flummoxed Siqueiros didn’t know what to do with the pieces, finally releasing them for sale last year, to honor the 25thanniversary of Warhol’s passing. The works are on display now and will close next Thursday, Aug. 23, at a closing reception from 7 to 10 p.m.

I was drawn to the gallery this week to check out these poignant Warhol photos, but I stuck around to chat with Sergio D’Larosa, the gallery’s owner. Spend a few minutes with D’Larosa, and you’ll walk away with a more positive aura; he’s just as likely to speak about cleansing, divine intervention and spiritual purpose as he is the art on his walls.

A New York transplant and former celebrity hairdresser, D’Larosa opened the gallery in January as a way to “bring beautiful art for the people in Boca. We work directly with the artists to bring down prices so that everybody can have beautiful, affordable art.”

The gallery exhibits work in all styles and disciplines. When I visited this week, I saw the inventive found-object sculptures of Michel Hernandez, the outsider art of Purvis Young, the motley abstracts of Pearl and Mark Cherry and the miniature portraits of multimedia artist Sinuhe Vega, among several others. There’s even art to view and buy in the gallery’s restroom.

Then there’s D’Larosa’s own art – photographs of landscapes, wildlife, architecture and more, shot throughout Africa, South America and Europe. The images radiate the kind of color you’d think was computer-generated, but D’Larosa says they’re all natural, reflecting his mastery of lighting effects. He’s shot 20,000 images over the past 10 years, and, with the D’Larosa-Lurie Gallery, he finally has his own space to exhibit them – along with work by some of the best artists in the business, national and international as well as local.

“I believe in karma,” he says. “When you can help someone, all that energy comes back.”

The D’Larosa-Lurie Gallery is at 302 S. Federal Highway, Boca Raton. For information, call 561/843-9291.

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