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Patti Smith At The Warhol

Strange Messenger: The Art of Patti Smith                     September 27, 2002  - January 5, 2003

At the Byham Theater

Patti Smith: Words and Music

September 28,  8 pm

Some celebrities are like thunder, rolling in and making a big noise then rolling out again without effect. On the other end is Patti Smith, a force with lasting consequence.

Now in her mid-50s, the woman often called "The Godmother of Punk" has been writing and performing music and poetry and making visual art since she moved to New York at the dawn of the 1970s, sharing an apartment with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and a stage with playwright Sam Shepard.

More than three decades of her creativity can be explored in Pittsburgh this month when The Andy Warhol Museum presents Strange Messenger: The Art of Patti Smith. The retrospective opens with an event at the museum on Friday, September 27 and continues through January 5, 2003. On September 28 at 8 p.m., The Warhol  will present Patti Smith: Words and Music at the

Byham Theater, Downtown. The evening will feature Smith live in concert, performing alone on acoustic guitar and with special guests. She also will read poetry, including text that can be seen in the drawings exhibited at The Warhol.

"Many of my drawings are the result of merging calligraphy with geometric planes, poetry and mathematics," Smith said. On display will be pieces from the permanent collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art, including portraits of Mapplethorpe and Arthur Rimbaud, the French poet whose hallucinatory work greatly influenced her.

More recently, the events of September 11th have been addressed in Smith's art. "The structural remains of one of the twin towers greatly resembled Bruegel's Tower of Babel. I am recreating this image with writings from sacred texts and the names of the victims," she said. "Of course this is a very simplified description," she added. "It is very hard for me to explain a drawing. In doing this work I am meditating on the structure, the victims and our world situation. What I've come to is that we need to remobilize the anti-war movement."

Smith's outspokenness is part of what has endeared her to fans for so long. Many of her concerns are voiced on a two-CD compilation released this year on Arista, Land: 1975-2002. Much of the music is from the time when she knew Andy Warhol well. "I am honored to have my work shown at The Andy Warhol Museum," she said. "I think it is appropriate that my current work be shown here as it is my first with silkscreen and using images in direct response to a public tragedy. I believe if Andy were still with us he would be vigorously addressing this tragedy."

For tickets to Patti Smith: Words and Music call 412. 456.6666. Prices are $25; $20 for students. A 10 percent discount is available to Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh members.

Opening Party!

for two new exhibitions

Americanisms:  Shaping Art and Culture in the '50s and Strange Messenger: The Art of Patti Smith at Good Fridays Friday, September 27 5-10 pm. Tickets $10. Preview the exhibitions Fesitivities for everyone, cash bar Members-only VIP lounge 412.237.8300 for tickets

The Warhol Café                                                                          

Chris Noonan doesn't know whether or not Andy Warhol had a stove, but he imagines that if the late artist did have this mundane kitchen item, he would have painted it a glittering silver.

When Noonan took over as manager of The Warhol Café last October, he really didn't know much about Pop art. Now, almost a year later, the 25-year-old chef has developed an understanding of Warhol's milieu and is using this appreciation to create a new attitude in the museum's little underground eatery.

"I'm experimenting with what I call Pop food," says Noonan, who is an employee of Pittsburgh's Big Burrito Restaurant Group, which operates the Café as well as owns Mad Mex, Kaya, Casbah, Soba and other businesses. "The idea is to use different ingredients and combinations to create menu items that are fun and a little bit funky but of the highest quality."

The results of Noonan's brainstorming turn up as daily specials on the Café  blackboard. Items include a variety of Maki Rolls with unusual fillings; a create-your-own Pasta Bar with choices such as Basil Pesto and Tuscan Tomato Sauces; and an Eggplant and Feta Cheese Panini with Roasted Red Peppers and Calamati Olive Spread.

Through museum staff Noonan learned that Andy Warhol had a serious sweet tooth, so the Café's desserts - from a local bakery called Pastry Perfection - reflect this interest. "Andy would go out to a restaurant and buy dinner for everyone and order just chocolate cake for himself," Noonan says. "He loved chocolate, so in that spirit we have the Café Brownie, which is so good people have written poems about it."

A special dessert on weekends is a Mini Lemon Tart. "Andy had gotten a great recipe from Tennessee Williams for a Lemon Ice Box Pie and this is our version of it," Noonan says. Offered every day are huge cookies, which Noonan claims were Andy's favorite. "Why do you think he had so many cookie jars?" the chef asks.

The gaily-colored Fiestaware that Warhol also collected and helped bring back into fashion is featured prominently in the museum Café. "Andy could serve 50 people on his Fiestaware. He made it hip again," Noonan says. To resonate with the artist's taste, the little restaurant's food is delivered on the pastel pink, blue and green china.

"The atmosphere of the Café is very Warhol - from the dishes, to the aluminum chairs and cowhide banquettes, to the bendable lights that can be adjusted if you want to read," Noonan says. "Now I think the food goes along with the setting," he adds.

Noonan admits that one of the most frequent things he has to say in the Café is, "Sorry, no, we don't have burgers." But he's not really apologetic. "We need to be doing what's different. You can get a hoagie anywhere on the North Side," he says. "I know I can't expect to sell out of something like Beet Gazpacho every day, but I think the consciousness of people who eat out is improving."

The Andy Warhol Museum Café is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays and Fridays until 9 p.m.

Americanisms: Shaping Art and Culture in the ‘50s      

Opening September 28, to 2003

What is American art? In many ways our concepts of American art and culture were defined in the 1950s by the emergence of the Beat writers and Abstract Expressionism. Yet the decade itself was a period of contrasts and extremes. It was a period of transitions from one generation reacting to and recovering from World War II, the atomic bomb, and Communism, to another being shaped by a burgeoning sense of freedom and consumerism.  The 1950s not only saw the simultaneous emergence and success of Andy Warhol’s commercial work, Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings, and John Coltrane but also established these figures as representative of American cultural identity here and abroad.

This exhibition, with sixty works drawn from the collections of The Andy Warhol Museum, Carnegie Museum of Art, The Museum of Contemporary Art-Los Angeles, and the Grey Art Gallery & Study Center, New York University, explores the varied cultural terrain of the decade. This is the first exhibition of a four-part series, over the next 10 years, that will examine Warhol within the decades in which he worked.





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