Sunday, September 23, 2012

Andy Warhol Museum, in Pittsburgh

Here's what I'm entering as my third review for Trip Advisor. They say I'll get a Reviewer Badge when I complete my third review. I don't know what that means. My guess is that they'll email me an image of a badge with the word "Reviewer" on it.

I'll click "Submit" on the review, and then find out!

Learn About Warhol

I squeezed in a lunchtime visit to the museum during a business trip since I didn't know when I'd be back in PIttsburgh. I didn't resent the $20 admission, for I could see it as a charity--that place must have rather high electric bills. If I'd had to pay admission for my spouse and kids too, we might have decided to go elsewhere.

After I read that his estate was worth $222 million when he died (I think that's what the sign said, it was on the first floor), and in seeing recent legal trouble over a banana graphic, I thought that perhaps there should be more money out there to fund this place than for one devoted to a less successful artist, but anyway...

I left with a greater respect and understanding of Warhol as an artist, which means the museum served its purpose.

I didn't know about the last supper reproductions, or the annunciations, or remember his connection to Interview magazine. I'd never seen his fanciful graphics from the 1950's. I hadn't been aware of his serious work in video. There was an impressive black canvas with white egg shapes cut out that I would have guessed was by another artist. It was great to be able to see the wide range of Warhol's work. So it was very educational. I also left with that odd pleasant feeling of looking at everything differently, which lasted for the walk back to work.

There were warnings in front of the galleries that wouldn't be appropriate for children, but most of the galleries would have been fine for kids, at least for my kids.

One art installation - Silver Clouds - made me wish my kids were with me. I imagined it would be difficult to pull them away. It was silver mylar balloons the size and shape of bed pillows. I guess they had been filled with just enough helium to make them sort of float. They were being blown around with a fan. Visitors were invited to play (gently) with the balloons. Kids would love that.

There were other interactive installations, such as one on learning about Warhol's coloring technique, that I would have liked to have tried out, but I didn't have time. One advantage to visiting in the middle of the weekday would have been that there weren't any lines in front of these activities.

I thought doing detailed blow ups of Renaissance paintings using Warhol's as an example would be a good project for an art teacher to assign--then someone told me that they had done that in art class, which I suppose validates it. There were other ideas that would be fun for art teachers to copy.

There was a really cool white elephant sculpture with black graphic designs on it that had a signature that wasn't Warhol at the base. I looked around for a plaque that would explain who had made it, when, etc, but couldn't find one.

You can look through the museum quickly, as I did, and feel like the time was well spent. I would have liked to have looked over all the videos playing on the hundreds of screens, and tried out the interactive exhibits, so you should certainly block out several hours if you are planning a visit.

I bought a sandwich/wrap at the cafeteria and they offered fresh fruit as an alternative to a bag of chips. That was a good policy, and the sandwich was good.

I was tempted by the Warhol-graphic skate boards in the gift shop, but didn't think I could get them into my carry-on. So I bought my daughters stationery decorated with Warhol graphics from the 1950's. Maybe they'll want to write a letter to someone some day.

1 comment:

  1. I went to a contemporary art fair in Shanghai recently, which was a real eye-opener. Chinese contemporary art has come leaps and bounds from the watery Zen landscapes to huge canvases of strange-looking beings. The prices being asked and paid were huge too.
    Oriental, if not Chinese, my print of Jean-Léon Gérôme's painting,, bought some time ago from, is as lovely as ever.