I love art! I enjoy visiting art galleries and museums and reading about this history of art. I happen to think that Picasso and Warhol are the 20th Century’s two most important artists. So, when we were planning our trip, one specific destination I was very interested in visiting was the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, the city where Warhol grew up. I was also excited about the possibility of seeing Pittsburgh. I had not seen this city since the late 1970s, when I went with my friend Jim on a college visit to Duquesne University, where he wound up going. Since then, I’ve been hearing lots of great things about Pittsburgh. The museum itself was established in 1994, and is considered to be a key part of Pittsburgh’s recent renaissance. According to Wikipedia, the museum has had a number of very famous visitors, including Mick Jagger, Bono, Michelle Obama, Robert Downey Jr., Brooke Shields, Nelly Furtado, Willem Dafoe, Donna Karan, Laura Linney, Eddie Izzard, Carla Bruni and Prince Andrew, Duke of York. I was also happy finding out that the museum has as one of its sponsors the Dia Foundtaion, which built the Dia Museum here in Beacon (and which has displayed some of Warhol’s works).

The ride out, while long, was largely enjoyable, as we were surrounded by lush, green mountains for much of the way.

But as we started approaching Pittsburgh, the setting started changing to a much more urban one, particularly after we drove through this tunnel.

followed then by views of the city’s skyline

The hotel, a Hyatt Regency, was right in the airport; Jolie got us a great deal on it on Priceline, and it was really nice – clean, comfortable and very quiet. On the other hand, since it was in the airport, we needed to get ourselves, using an airport shuttle, to downtown Pittsburgh, and to be prepared to return by the time of the last shuttle back, around 11:30. Our plan – the Warhol Museum, a bit of walking around, the famous Primanti Brothers restaurant for dinner, and then back to the hotel. So, basically, we were headed here.

The shuttle ride in was uneventful, and the driver was friendly and helpful. We were dropped off near 7th Street and had to walk across the 7th Street Bridge (The “Andy Warhol Bridge”), over the Allegheny River, to get to the Museum. The walk was great, offering us a spectacular view of the downtown skyline from the bridge.

We also noticed that the bridge had some Warhol banners on it.

So, we crossed and walk up a few blocks, and came to the Museum, located in an older turn of the century industrial warehouse.

(not my photo – I found this image here).

Entering through the front door, you go through a hallway full of brightly colored pop art cows and then into a lobby with pop art Warhol images.

These images are all so unmistakably Warhol! They also made for a nice backdrop for taking souvenir photos.

Upon paying the admission fee, we were told that photography was only allowed on the ground floor, which offered mostly background info on Warhol’s life; his works, which the Museum holds in abundance, are, understandably, not permitted to be photographed were all on the various upstairs floors, and we would try to see as much as we could. There are seven floors and a total of seventeen galleries. I’ll try to find some images, in addition to my photos, to illustrate.

Here then are some photos from Warhol’s life.

Andy Warhol from his Factory years in the mid to late 1960s:

and

During this period, he would have various prominent people, such as Bob Dylan, visiting his Factory studio. I love this shot of him and Dylan, as I like the idea of the meetings of great minds.

But going back a bit further in time, here is Warhol in his childhood.

and in his high school and college years – I’m wondering what it must have been like for him and his fellow high school students to be interacting with one another during this period.

also a display, here, on the emergence of Pop Art and of Warhol’s artistic reputation.

So we enjoyed and learned a bit looking around in this room. One of the things I greatly appreciate about Warhol is that his work for me is very postmodern – taking familiar, everyday or glossy celebrity images and transforming the meaning of these images.

On the other floors, we found a number of works by Warhol, including his famous Brillo boxes.

His Jacqueline Kennedy silk screen painting

the silver pillows from the Factory

We even got to interact with the pillows, which were in a room and in motion. Here is a video I found showing this.

We also really enjoyed the various video installations, showing Warhol’s work with film and video, and clips of his 1980s TV program on Manhattan Cable. Here is one clip from Warhol TV.

Here is a clip from Trash, which was also shown.

One of the special exhibits during our visit was a series of images on masculinity, which was interesting and kind of anthropological and deconstructive.

A few other miscellaneous Warhol images.

This last image represents the reality that Warhol was a practicing Catholic and like artists going back to the Middle Ages, Warhol was interested in expressing religious truth as he saw it.

In great contrast, Warhol, who started his career as a commercial artist doing work in advertising, not only made commerciality a topic of his art, but also periodically made himself into a commercial element, as for instance, in a Japanese ad for TDK

So, after a few really pleasurable hours here, it was time to go eat and then to head back to the hotel. We quickly realized, even though we intended to check out Primanti Brothers for dinner, that it was relatively far from where we were and that given that we were somewhat pressed for time, we would look for something closer. We found then a very nice pub restaurant and enjoyed our meals there.

As we walked, we realized, too, how nice and picturesque Pittsburgh is at night.

Then, catching one of the last shuttles back to the Hyatt, we entered back into our room, tired and very happy to collapse into a truly comfortable bed for a good night’s sleep, with perhaps a bit of pop art on the brain.

Advertisements