Andy Warhol Show Comes to Pensacola Museum of Art

Andy Warhol? Some of the stuff is very striking, but I always wondered if the enigmatic pop artist was sometimes getting something over on us, or whether he was truly creating art that was both visionary, cautionary and provocatively striking in its objective observation and presentation of fame, celebrity and post-World War II consumerism.

But since I have a near-mini shrine featuring one of Warhol's most-circulated pieces, I go with the latter most of the time. 

You can be the judge yourself at "Andy Warhol: Myth/Maker" an exhibit of Warhol's works, that debuts Friday at the Pensacola Museum of Art in downtown Pensacola. The exhibit runs through Sept. 2.

"I think that's what frustrates a lot of people about Warhol,'' said Pensacola Museum of Art Director Amy Bowman-McElhone, addressing my concerns. "That enigma. He's playing both sides."

The 46-piece exhibition features original work from Warhol’s Myths series, depicting nostalgic heroes and villains from his childhood. Items on display include original silkscreen paintings, prints, archival material and vintage toys collected by Warhol throughout his lifetime.

The traveling exhibition comes from The Andy Warhol Museum and the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, and will feature a costume station for children and a silkscreen studio where visitors can create prints on a variety of materials, just as Warhol once did.

The artist died in 1987 at the age of 58.

While he is best know by many for his prints showcasing consumerism and mass production — 1966's "Campbell's Soup Cans" — and celebrity obsession — 1962's "Marilyn Diptych" — Warhol worked in a variety of media, from photography to film-making. While his printed artwork can be enjoyed at face value, his films were often controversial and almost always avant-garde, such as 1964's "Empire,'' which consists of eight hours of footage of the Empire State Building at dusk, or 1966's "Chelsea Girls'' which consisted of two films being projected simultaneously, each telling an insular story.

A Pittsburgh native, Warhol established an artistic realm in New York City, and his Manhattan studio The Factory became a haven for artists, models, musicians, drag queens, celebrities, and other interesting  characters. From 1966 to 1967, he began hosting multi-media events at The Factory dubbed "The Plastic Exploding Inevitable,'' which would feature live music by the Velvet Underground, screenings of Warhol's films and performance art/modern dance by Factory personas such as Edie Sedwick and Mary Woronov (later "Principal Togar" in Roger Corman's "Rock & Roll High School").

It's through the Velvet Underground — New York's seminal band — that many music fans first discovered Warhol. After all, his name are the only two words on the cover of what is considered by many music historians to be one of the greatest albums of all time, 1967's "The Velvet Underground & Nico,'' which features Warhol's "Banana" on the cover, with his name. The band's name is on the back cover of the still-ahead-of-its time album, which listed Warhol as the album's producer. (My shrine — more to the album than Warhol — features a copy of the album and a pair of never-worn Converse featuring the "Banana.")

It's a cheeky design in its subtle sexuality, though early copies — of which I don't own — offered owners a chance to peel back the banana to reveal a pinkish banana, are less subtle in its sexuality.

Warhol also created the infamous cover of the Rolling Stone's 1971 album "Sticky Fingers,'' which features a crotch-shot of a man in jeans. Early copies of the album  featured a working zipper on the crotch.

And the man whose crotch is immortalized on the album?

That's Pensacola-born Joe Dallesandro, who appeared in numerous Warhol films such  such as "Andy Warhol's Dracula,'' "Andy Warhol's Frankenstein,'' "Trash,'' and "Flesh."

(Another loose local tie? The 1963 book "The Velvet Underground,'' from which the Lou Reed-led band took its name, is written by former Pensacola News Journal columnist and writer Michael Leigh. The book is an early looking at partner swapping — swinging.)

Article Source: https://www.pnj.com/story/news/2018/06/26/andy-warhol-show-comes-pensacola-museum-art/732050002/

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Article source: https://www.pnj.com/story/news/2018/06/26/andy-warhol-show-comes-pensacola-museum-art/732050002/

Anne Fullenkamp