There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
All the major cities have museums of modern art: London, Tokyo, L.A., Washington, Paris, New York—and Medzilaborce, Slovakia. That last may not boast one of the bigger collections, but it does possess a spiritual link to American pop art: It and nearby Mikova are the ancestral home of the Warhola family, whose American branch moved to Pittsburgh and dropped the second a from its surname. Polish director Stanislaw Mucha, who first discovered the remote region by accident, traveled to Slovakia to make a film that’s as much about the Warholas as their American cousin. In fact, it turns out that the Warholas don’t really know that much about the man they call “Andrijku.” Yet given a glass of schnapps and some free time—which is abundant, because there’s almost no work in the region—the Warholas are happy to share their impressions of Andy (whose Green Marilyn is pictured). As the filmmaker explains, they’ve been proud of their distant relation “ever since they heard on television that he wasn’t just a house painter.” But in this comic documentary, discussing Warhol’s art, renown, and persona is just a way of speculating about the modern, affluent world that exists far beyond what Mucha calls “the Ruthenian Bermuda Triangle.” “When I look at the film,” he says, “I am convinced that there was no such person as Andy Warhol and that these people merely invented him to improve their lives in some way; so that they could retain a little glimmer of hope for a better life.” The film screens at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, Friday, Dec. 27, and Saturday, Dec. 28, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. (202) 842-6799. (Mark Jenkins)