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Prague goes Pop

Czechs relish their first opportunity to see Andy Warhol's films.

All the films are black and white and filmed at 16 frames per second. The result is a sharp reminder of the literal meaning of the exhibition's title. When we think of “motion pictures” today, we think of Hollywood and all of the spectacular camera work that goes into blockbuster productions. In contrast to these movies, Warhol's exhibition uses "motion pictures" — literally, pictures in motion.

Andrea Ciencialova, a 23-year-old university student, was staring at “Kiss” along with her younger sister and mother.

“It's interesting how every couple kisses differently,” she said, watching the series of couples, both gay and straight, kissing. “We've been sitting here for 15 minutes.”

Her 15-year-old sister Petra, who is thinking about being an artist, said Warhol's appeal is his uniqueness. “It's his ideas,” she said. “Nobody before did this.”

Martina Konecna, a human-resource specialist from the city of Brno, said she considered Warhol “a very exciting man” based on magazine articles she had read. Still, she wasn't prepared for what she saw in the exhibition.

“It's very interesting,” she said. “I'm very surprised at the concepts — I've never seen anything like it.”

Her favorite picture was the one of Baby Jane Holzer brushing her teeth — a sentiment echoed by others. Except for “Kiss” it is, perhaps, the most action-packed film.

But not everyone came away impressed with the exhibition, such as Metin Altinos, a film student visiting from Istanbul, who said he likes Warhol's work but came away feeling flat.

“If you had a white frame or a black picture,” he said, “people will come to see it — if it's done by Warhol.”

"Andy Warhol's Motion Pictures" is at Prague's Rudolfinum Galerie through April 5. It was organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in cooperation with The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh.

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