Saturday, August 15, 2015

A Long Haul for Andy Warhol

by Drew Martin
The Warhol in Pittsburgh is a great collection of paintings, drawings, film and video, and sculpture (Brillo boxes and floating, silver rectangular clouds) by America’s most iconic artist, Andy Warhol. It’s worth the trip; in my case – a three-day, 800-mile road trip through the Appalachian Mountains, which cradle this scenic stretch of Route 80. 

My daughter, Olympia, and I visited The Warhol the weekend before his birthday. I had not given much thought to what the museum building might look like; perhaps a giant tomato soup can, or a big silver factory. It is, in fact, in a semi-ornate Beaux Arts edifice built in 1911 for the Frick and Lindsay Company, which dealt in oil well, mill and mine supplies. 

The kitty-corner parking lot attendant’s booth is more of what I had in mind: decorated in the style of a Brillo box. The seven stories of galleries in the museum house some of Warhol’s largest works but the enormous canvases are nicely balanced by much more intimate drawings. 

The museum and the trip made me think less specifically about pop/modern/contemporary art, and more broadly about the distances we travel to fulfill our cultural needs. It is essential to travel to museums and other countries in order to take in what they have to offer, and as an artist, it is important to make your own life and surroundings a cultural oasis.