Updated: Dec 4, 2019
“Good Business is the best art” - Andy Warhol
. . . and now you know why I find Warhol so interesting. Below I’m just going to highlight a small portion of the museum, not necessarily the best of, just what I found interesting.
1st floor: After paying for admission, watch the movie “Fifteen Minutes Eternal” in the adjacent theater. It’s a 30 minute encapsulation of Warhol’s life as told by friends and family. A very efficient way to come up to speed on a very efficient man, then proceed to the . . .
7th floor: Watch the Blotted Line Technique video and review the associated displays. It all has a DIY quality, like with a little effort you too could create art just like Andy Warhol. Of course if you give it a shot, you may want to pick a different subject matter than a woman’s shoe.
Along this line of thought there is also the largest paint by number I’ve ever seen in the adjacent gallery.
6th floor: Focuses on Warhol’s time as a filmmaker. He was perhaps the first producer of reality films. He would point a camera (often without sound) at a subject and start filming, no script, no direction, no plot. He said he wanted “Chunks of time all together, every real moment . . . . [emphasis added].”
Sit down and spend some time really watching these three “masterpieces” being shown on the wall (there are four seats and generally all four are available) and you may come to the conclusion that reality is overrated. Alfred Hitchcock once said, he tried to make his films as realistic as possible, but there were limits. “Reality without the banality” is what I think he said.
You can make you own Warholian film in the adjoining “studio”. I created my film noir masterpiece and simultaneously wrote this blog (and my wife says I can’t multitask).
5th floor: When you think of Warhol, what piece of art immediately comes to mind? Well this is the floor. Interestingly enough, the Marilyn Monroe you just pictured is not here. But there is a Jagger, a Nicklaus, a Tiege and interesting enough, a Seaver.
There is a setup of monitors and headphones allowing visitors to watch old Andy Warhol tv shows and videos. I watched Andy Warhol’s 15 Minutes of Fame, episode 3 that included The Ramones, a drag act (didn’t see that coming), Tommy Tune, Konk, Jerri Hall, Ian McKellen reciting poetry backed by the Fleshtones. There is quite a bit more in this thirty (?) minute episode, but you get the idea.
Silver Clouds: take a look at what Andy and I made together.
Oxidation Painting: I was specifically looking for this one as it is featured prominently in the movie Basquiat. If you haven’t seen the movie, this piece of art was created by urinating on a canvas primed by metallic paint. He thought it echoed Pollack’s drip paintings. Not sure if I think so, though I wouldn’t mind giving it a try.
3rd Floor: Warhol liked to collect stuff. If you or I collected an incredible amount of stuff and never threw anything out, we would be called a hoarder. If Andy Warhol does it, he’s called a genius. The entire floor is filled with his stuff (and I’m sure it’s not all of it). Some of it is fascinating: Basquiat’s birth certificate, an autographed photo of Shirley Temple (made out to Andy Warhola), but some of it is not: tableware, dog collar tag (from Tiffany, of course), coffee pot, Calvin Klein underwear (signed by Calvin Klein), photo of Keith Richards kissing an elbow.
Warhol’s day planners are displayed (actually he kept two: one for daytime and one for nighttime). I have been keeping a log of my travels over the last two years, I’m hopeful it will someday be displayed in my museum (not too soon, though).
The Dog: I watched almost no one read the plaque in front of a stuffed dog, so they’ll never know that Warhol bought the stuffed dog largely because he was told it belonged to Cecil B. DeMile (it wasn’t). Warhol was Warholed.
2nd Floor: An installation “Under Construction”, so “nothing to see here”. Although knowing Warhol, it could be a piece of art.
Basement: There is an arts & crafts space where you can make your own Warholian art. If you have young children, this is a must, if you don’t, it is highly recommended. Here is what I created.
Now, have a drink and review what you have learned. What would Andy drink? I figured a gin martini with a twist, but you need to decide for yourself (you probably couldn’t go wrong with a Cosmo or a Gimlet). Where to drink it?
Social 7: Perfect location, as you need to walk across the Andy Warhol Bridge. Note: There are three almost identical bridges (The Three Sisters) that cross this section of the Allegheny River. Originally named for the streets they bridged. They have since been renamed for famous Yinzers.
Soho: Over by the ballpark. Figured Warhol would approve of the name. Went with the martini, but after seeing the tab, $15!?!, wished Warhol would have actually had an IC Lager.
Coffee: Need a cup before visiting? Visit the Commonplace Coffee. Located in Nova Place, formerly the Allegheny Center Mall (possibly the largest indoor mall in the world when opened in 1966). Now almost entirely converted to office space. The common area is open to the public and is quite unpopulated, which will allow you to sip your latte in quiet as you marvel at the groovy 60’s modern architecture.
The building that houses the museum was built in 1911 as a warehouse.
Not That Required Watching: Andy Warhol’s Chelsea Girls. If you can make it through all 210 minutes, email me and I’ll give you 100 bucks.