PORK EL SEXTO . ANDY WARHOL The Life of Juanita Castro
"Fidel Castro wanted to be played on screen by Marlon Brando and Raul by Frank Sinatra. From that point on, Cuba became the property of Andy Warhol" *
On Thursday February 25th from 7:30pm -late, Andy Warhol's acclaimed film The Life of Juanita Castro will be projected in Miami's Market Gallery, by invitation only.
The exhibit will be open to the public from February 26 to March 17, from 12:00pm - 12:00 am daily.
“If I ever have to cast an acting role, I want the wrong person for the part… it's more satisfying to get someone who’s perfectly wrong.” Warhol on casting The Life of Juanita Castro
El Sexto's carnival-like eventPORKis a raucous display of paintings and drawings, live music by Porno para Ricardo and a specially planned live performance by the artist himself, involving two live pigs. For followers of the artist, the long-awaited controversial pig performance has been building up for over a year. El Sexto was previously arrested for attempting Rebelion en la Gran ( Animal Farm )on December 25th 2014, and later had it cancelled by being denied a US visa during Art Basel.
For Juanita, Warhol used actresses for the roles of Fidel, Raul and Che, drawing parallels with El Sexto's act of painting the names Fidel and Raul on the sides of two pigs for his Orwell-like action.
"The day I first grabbed a can of spray paint in my hand was the day I decided what to do with my life. " El Sexto
Generations apart, these deliberate acts of transgression had much in common. Both effectively ridiculed the Cuban regime in a short swipe, while at the same time promoted universal human rights in a novel way.Integral to both works, is Cuban minimalist painter Waldo Diaz-Balart, who collaborated first with Warhol and now has passed the torch to El Sexto.
It was over a private dinner in his New York 10th Street townhouse (a salon for artists, writers, film-makers) where the seed for the film began. Earlier that year in 1965, Warhol had read a scathing Life Magazine article by Fidel’s anti-communist sister, Juanita and was particularly incensed by his brutal persecution of gays. Fidel’s ex brother-in-law Waldo introduced Warhol to Ron Tavel who wrote the script and acted in Juanita. Miraculously, in only three weeks it had its New York theatrical debut. *Andrew Sarrisa long-term critic of Warhol's films, named Juanita a success. The whole show was given away when word got out that Fidel Castro wanted to be played on screen by Marlon Brando and Raul by Frank Sinatra. From that point on, Cuba became the property of Andy Warhol.
Over 50 years later and Balart, in a letter to El Sexto, welcomes yet another context to screen Juanita: "What a pleasure collaborating with you in this ‘performance’!!! Our paths are apparently different but as Manrique’s four-line stanzas say, they are ‘two rivers that flow to the sea,’ and in this case, ‘the sea’ is our Cuba. Participating in your ‘performance’ is an expression of this position.”
With only days before the opening of El Sexto’s show, the Warhol Museum has graciously lent the film for the exhibition. The event is highlighted unexpectedly by President Obama’s first planned visit to Cuba. Obama promises to address human rights in Cuba with Raul Castro. One can only hope he mentions El Sexto again- in the meantime the artist will continue to speak for himself.
To quote Balart: "Art is just one and we, the artists, are nothing but carriers that alert and guide consciences to be awakened.”