Sunday, May 20, 2007

Visit to the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh

I visited the Andy Warhol Museum in downtown Pittsburgh this weekend. It is on the “North Shore”, two long blocks down from the Pittsburgh Pirates ‘s new PNC Park. When I tried to drive there, I got sidetracked in the baseball crowd around the park, could not turn onto the right street because of pedestrians, and got pointed onto an HOV lane (illegally) by a police officer. But eventually I got there.

I wasn’t in time to see the pseudo-opera Red Dust by Matthew Rosenblum (and the tickets apparently had to be purchased a couple days in advance) although I saw all the jazzy props on the second floor.

The tour started on the sixth floor with “6 Billion Perps Held Hostage: Artists Address Global Warming”. This exhibit did not allow photographs because of proprietary copyrights, and there were a number of interesting visual experiments. The most interesting as a little film where little “black holes” are shot into the air above Pittsburgh and they explode into smoke that envelops the sky.

The Fourth Floor had a special exhibit “Gift of Gretchen Berg: The True Story of ‘My True Story’ and The Troublemakers.” There are a lot of photos of the protests, and a glass cabinet with Time and Life articles about the Vietnam period, such as pictures of people being inducted by the draft (1965), and of the Kent State shooting (Ohio) in May 1970. That period covered my own Army service and first job of my “working life’. I was driving out from New Jersey to Indianapolis for a job assignment when I heard about Kent State (amongst all of those 800-835-3535 Sheaton ads – in a time when I was getting used to “the road.”). This was the other exhibit section not allowing photos. (All other sections did allow them.)

There was plenty of floor space to the more typical Warhol stuff (the soup cans and catsup and hamburgers). Somehow this all makes me think of a colorized “Last Picture Show.”

The exhibit “Buggin’: Taps for Justice” was largely roped off for renovation, but I could see a lot of the bugging from the lower tech Hoover eras. Good Night and Good Luck.

Earlier this year, the Warhol Museum hosted an exhibit on loan from the Holocaust Museum on Eugenics in Nazi Germany.

The Weekend Factory, downstairs, had people experimenting with the "silkscreen" art techniques. A friend of mine in the 1970s, Stuart Lamle, had a somewhat similar idea called "aquagraphics".

Warhol, it seems, wanted to make his mark on the world in his own way, without competing on other people’s terms. He changed the way we perceive art, and maybe even how what we perceive what is important in ourselves, just with his expression. Although he became a shrewd businessman, manipulation families or other empires was not his thing.

Related review of movies at the museum, here.

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