Andy Warhol Museum marks silver anniversary |
Art & Museums

Andy Warhol Museum marks silver anniversary

Mary Pickels
AP Photo/Richard Drew
Pop artist Andy Warhol smiles in New York in this 1976 photo.

The Andy Warhol Museum is celebrating its silver anniversary today, with plans to mark the 25th anniversary of its May 13, 1994, opening at 117 Sandusky St. on Pittsburgh’s North Side with several special events this year and next.

One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, and a collaborative project between Carnegie Institute, Dia Art Foundation, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., the museum opened its doors with a 24-hour celebration.

Warhol, who was known for painting and film making by day and holding court in New York clubs by night, likely would have approved.

“Warhol’s reputation, and fascination with Andy Warhol, has only grown since his (1987) death,” especially with younger generations, museum Director Patrick Moore says.

Warhol embraced people of all kinds and all walks of life, Moore says, at both The Factory in New York and in his life and art.

“I think at this moment in American culture, that is something we kind of hunger for,” Moore adds.

Warhol was ahead of his time, Moore says, in his repetition of images, something that plays out now in media.

“Whether celebrities or disasters, he repeated images. … A lot of young artists mined that territory,” he says.

Later this year, Oct. 20-Feb. 16, 2020, the Pittsburgh museum will offer visitors “Andy Warhol: Revelation.”

According to the museum’s website, the fall exhibition will be the first comprehensive examination of Warhol’s Catholic faith in relation to his artistic production.

Warhol regularly attended Mass with his mother, Julia Warhola, while growing up in Pittsburgh, the site notes.

His mother clearly was an inspiration to her son.

He first was exposed to religious art and iconography in the pews of his neighborhood church, St. John Chrysostom.

“I love it when I walk people through the museum and they say, ‘I never knew that about Andy Warhol.’ People didn’t know about his religious side,” Moore says.

“Pittsburgh is a city of churches. (The exhibit) is relevant for the local community, too. He continued to go to church all through his life,” he says.

“Revelation,” organized by chief curator José Carlos Diaz, will include more than 100 objects from the museum’s permanent collection, highlighting archival materials, drawings, paintings, prints, and film.

The exhibition will present a fresh perspective on both obscure works, including the rarely exhibited film “Sunset” (1967), and late paintings including the pink “Last Supper” (1968).

”It’s enormous, the size of a wall. It’s a very unusual color, a very ‘pop’ color, but not sacrilegious,” Moore says of the painting.

“The image and the painting just sort of glow with that pink. … I think it’s a devout painting,” he says.

“Sunset” is a little seen film, recently digitally transformed, Moore says.

“The film involves the sun very slowly setting. … In our lives, if you think about it, we are in one long, slow sunset,” he says.

One of Warhol’s favorite actresses, Nico from The Velvet Underground, recites Catholic texts over the setting sun.

Warhol and his women

Following that exhibit, the museum will mount a show focusing on the influential women in Warhol’s life, Moore says.

There will be portraits of women he painted, along with accompanying stories, and work Warhol made showing the importance of female art dealers and fashion editors who embraced him.

“Even Valerie Solanas, who shot Andy (believing he was conspiring to steal her work) — you cannot argue she forever changed the course of his life,” Moore says.

That incident was told in the film “I Shot Andy Warhol,” and the museum will tell that story as well, he says.

The museum’s mission remains to offer a global destination for scholarship and learning about Warhol’s life, art, and relevance to contemporary culture.

Through collection access and engaging experiences, it also is committed to providing a sustainable model for inclusivity and a platform for creative expression.

Ensuring future generations can enjoy Warhol’s art is a museum priority.

Programs have continued to expand over the years, with options for all demographics. The museum reaches out to educators, teens, community and families. It offers a free virtual senior digital academy and conversation and art-making workshops for people with dementia and their caregivers.

Warhol’s art remains popular, drawing visitors to international exhibits including an upcoming planned showing in London.

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Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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