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One-Stop Warhol Shop

“When you think about it, department stores are kind of like museums."

--Andy Warhol 

It makes perfect sense for The Andy Warhol Museum to join forces with Internet giant Intel to forge a unique Internet project, the One-Stop Warhol Shop, scheduled to be launched October 1, 2000.   This web project is not a literal “shop”--rather it will be featured on www.artmuseum.net - a division of the Intel Corporation dedicated entirely to online presentations of art exhibitions and projects.  The goal of One-Stop Warhol Shop is to open up Warhol’s “(re) inventive and multi-faceted” world to anyone on the planet who has a computer.

“The idea of personal choice inherent in ‘shopping’ and in Warhol’s own aesthetic practice are mirrored by the ‘open’ environment of the World Wide Web,” says Warhol director Thomas Sokolowski. “Like a contemporary ‘net surfer,’ Warhol searched through the myriad worlds of popular culture and chose or ‘shopped’ for the most potent images, ideas, and technology. He then made them his own. 

"One-Stop Warhol Shop also builds on Warhol’s artistic practice and acts as a metaphoric ‘open work,’ enabling users to navigate or choose their own path of information and surprise. In this way users construct their own Warhol as they engage with the art, ideas, and people surrounding him, and 'shop’ for information, experiences, and ‘products.’” 

“One-Stop Warhol Shop is one of the most adventurous in this series of online projects which artmuseum.net has developed," says Jessica Arcand, director of education at The Warhol. "In the past few years artmuseum.net had established itself as a kind of publishing house for online art exhibitions.”  The site presents web exhibitions ranging from traditional paintings to multi-media presentations (such as video installations), all of which can be experienced in full, with the assistance of different audio and visual programs (which are explained on the site). 

“In the past artmuseum.net has connected with institutions that have a physical exhibition in place, and has produced an online presentation of that exhibition.  They’ve worked with the Van Gogh Museum and the exhibition of Van Gogh at the National Gallery, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, the American Century exhibition, and with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. 

"One-Stop Warhol Shop is unique in that it is being created specifically for the web. The museum and artmuseum.net chose leading web development and advertising company Modem Media to design and produce the site. An important aspect of this whole project has been the collaboration between, not only a large technology corporation, web developer and a museum but also the collaboration of museum staff. I think it gave us an opportunity to bring diverse perspectives together and to break down some traditional departmental modes of working. The Shop has been conceived as an in-depth resource tool on Andy Warhol, but it also plays into the re-inventive, playful spirit that typifies Warhol.  Information can flow across different areas and ideas--that's one of the things that reflects the way the Shop was created.” 

The home page features three main sections:  “Supermarket,” "The Factory," and "Warhol."  In Supermarket you find “People,” “Places,” and “Things”—each area featuring subjects that were important to Warhol.   “The Factory” looks at Warhol’s artistic processes, and in “Warhol” you examine Warhol the person, his life and career together with frequently asked questions. 

When you enter “Supermarket” you are greeted with supermarket-like music and Warhol’s voice from a tape recording of the artist going shopping, and see a “shopping list” of different “People”, “Places”, and “Things” to explore. If “People” is chosen, you find subcategories such as “Marilyn Monroe”, “Edie Sedgwick”, and the “Velvet Underground.” The “Marilyn” section features images of Marilyn along with perspectives on Marilyn from critics, journalists, and Warhol..  The premise is, as Arcand puts it, “different people, in different places, looking at and commenting upon a particular work or person.” In "Edie Sedgwick” you can hear audio tapes of Warhol and Sedgwick talking about making movies, and in “Velvet Underground” there are audio samples of Lou and company, images of the Velvets performing, and lots of information about the Velvets. “Places” offers such subsections as “Fifties New York,” wherein you find images of Warhol in The Big Apple in the 1950’s and read about his experiences there. 

“The Factory” has an actual map of Warhol’s Factory and gives you explorable subcategories such as “Documenting,” “Collecting,” “Collaborating,” “Experimenting,” and “Reproducing.” Each category offers a selection of images, film and video clips, audio clips and diverse points of view on different aspects of Warhol’s artistic practice..  You can read and hear about his collaboration with different people, learn about his silk-screens, and hear audio clips from Warhol’s videotapes--such as his talk about photographer Man Ray where he repeats the phrase, “I took a picture,” over and over. 

"Space on the web is essentially “free and limitless,” says Arcand. “It’s not so ownership. And as a fairly new space in the museum world it offers really interesting potential.  You can engage and collaborate with people in different ways, because there’s less of a sense predefined traditions.” 

One-Stop Warhol Shop also tackles something else difficult to do in any museum: exhibiting work from disparate media in the same place at the same time. On the site, visitors have instant access to Warhol’s drawings, films, paintings, video work, collecting work, and audio tapes.   In a museum, physically presenting all of these different elements becomes complex for a variety of reasons such as the light levels for paintings aren’t the same as those for drawings, and having a screening facility for films alongside paintings is difficult to do.  The Shop brings all these to your own house, and in the process breaks down traditional museum categories.

“People look so determined entering a department store.”

    —Andy Warhol

 “The web can be a great leveler. Traditional museum content areas and categories, such as archives, film, painting can be presented together in a less hierarchical model,” Arcand continues. The One-Stop Shop brings all these categories into play without privileging one or the other, in this way it is totally appropriate to Warhol’s own work in diverse media and also allows visitors to draw upon their own associations, make their own connections, and freely to explore the site at their own pace, in whatever order they choose.

“One-Stop Warhol Shop will be hosted on artmuseum.net for three years,” reports Arcand, “after which time it will then migrate over to warhol.org; at that point it will be almost like a whole resource section for the museum. So when a visitor goes to warhol.org four or five years from now, there will still be a link there that will take him or her to the One-Stop Warhol Shop” 

“It’s a wonderful opportunity,” Arcand says. “The Warhol Museum staff had evolved great dreams for the museum's web site, but we were never really sure if we’d be in a position to realize that.  Working with Intel allowed us to have the funds to move forward on our vision of the web site.   It's an integrated, collaborative project that combines elements of a playful re-inventiveness that is wholly Warhol. But it also allows for full exploration of Warhol’s work and life, the kind of indepth resource idea that we wanted.  It combines creative experience with an informative resource. It’s been an amazing  process of development – we’re looking forward to the response”

What's New at http://www.warhol.org

In conjunction with the opening of the One-Stop Shop site, The Warhol Museum also unveils the revamped version of its own web site (http://www.warhol.org), which will be accessible from artmuseum.net. “If one goes to artmuseum.net on October 1,” says Arcand, “at the same time, there will be a revamped Warhol Museum site (http://www.warhol.org),”which will continually be updated to reflect ongoing programs—as well as goings-on—at The Warhol.  It will feature different artists’ projects, a Warhol Museum web-cam, and the opportunity for visitors to partake in museum-related polls.


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