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Right: Two CAPA students model their creations during the Pop Fashion Show at Youth Invasion 2004 on May 7th at The Andy Warhol Museum.
Photo: Carrie Schneider






Reaching Out and Teaching Teens
Two youth programs at The Warhol encourage local high-school students to explore their artistic abilities.

Andy Warhol broke rules. He rebelled. He defied convention. In other words, he was a typical teenager. It just took him a few extra years to discover his inner 16-year-old.

But some of Pittsburgh’s artistically inclined students aren’t waiting, thanks to The Andy Warhol Museum’s Youth Invasion program. In its third year, Youth Invasion is a large-scale project involving students from area high schools who execute artistic visions conceived with guidance from the museum’s artist educators.

A core of about 14 students plans the events for Youth Invasion week. The young raiders literally take over the museum, filling it with new energy via music, dance, visual art, fashion, and other elements inspired by Warhol’s work or the pop culture environment he helped to create. They submit their work for jurying, and those deemed appropriate in quality and context are placed in the museum.

Urban Interview students Ian Kazimer, Shawn Wilson, Kristoffer Smith, and Shane Levin hard at work. Photo: Peter Burr

“ This year, we had six students make an homage to (the late) Tupac Shakur, one of their favorite rappers. They made these really beautiful silkscreen prints,” recalls Carrie Schneider, the museum’s youth programs coordinator. Director of Collections and Research John Smith hung them between two of Warhol’s Guns prints. In that setting, their work became a powerful statement as well as a memorial.

Another student created an installation piece with scavenged 1950s-era washing machines, on which she silkscreened ‘50s advertisements. They looked right at home next to Warhol’s silkscreens of advertisements.

Teens seeking more job-oriented forms of exploration also have a place at The Warhol. Each year, as part of The Warhol’s Urban Interview program, a group of students produces their own version of Warhol’s Interview magazine. The Interview program, also known as the After School Youth Technology program, gives participants opportunities to speak with people they find interesting. Examples include Goosebumps author R.L. Stine, Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy, a video game programmer, and a jewelry designer.

One Youth Invasion 2004 youth artwork—created through a partnership between Warhol's alma mater Schenley High School and The Warhol—was hung on Warhol's Cow Wallpaper.

“ They’re able to interview anyone they like,” says Schneider. “Whatever their interests are, we encourage them to pursue those.”

They also learn the computer skills necessary to produce the magazine. The students are actually hired and paid with funding from Youthworks, a Pittsburgh organization that helps young adults build job skills.

Whether they choose to take part in Youth Invasion planning and activities or prefer the world of magazine production offered by Urban Interview, both programs lead these young adults to a greater understanding of how art integrates with the bigger picture of their lives. “I think these kids feel really comfortable here. And that’s a really big goal,” says Schneider. “They’re beginning to feel like this is a place for them.”


Piece by Piece
The Warhol staff reflect on Warhol’s work in a new souvenir book.

Trying to put together a souvenir book for visitors to The Andy Warhol Museum was a daunting task. After all, the authors had to find a way to squeeze into a few hundred pages the life and work of a man whose creative output can’t even be contained in one museum.

To accomplish the goal, Director Thomas Sokolowski and Director for Collections and Research John Smith spent several days in a conference room with fellow staffers, sorting through images, weighing words, trying to decide how to avoid the common while not slipping into scholarly esoterica—seeking to give a good overview and provide insights not only to visitors, but also to knowledgeable fans. And yes, even to scholars.

“ We wanted the book to reflect not only the collection of the museum but also the philosophy of the museum,” says Smith. “In our mission statement, we say we’re more than a museum, so the book had to be more than a handbook.”

Statue of Liberty, 1986 © 2004 AWF

Actually, Andy Warhol: 365 Takes: The Andy Warhol Museum Collection, is more like a “brick”—the publishing industry term for a book that’s short, thick, and horizontal. The “365” comes from the name of a museum-book series created by publisher Harry N. Abrams Inc. It actually has 750 pages with about 400 images, some of which have never before been displayed. They include all facets of Warhol’s art, from paintings to film, plus items from the collection of “time capsule” boxes into which he deposited bits and pieces of his life. The visuals are accompanied by Warhol’s own comments about his work, interspersed with observations and insights by The Warhol staff.

“ We collaborated on this project, in a way, with Warhol himself,” Smith says. “He wrote this book.”

It includes biographical information and descriptions of Warhol’s work processes, but also, Smith says, tidbits that convey his eccentricities: “The kinds of things that ‘you wouldn’t believe it if we told you, but . . . .’”

As part of the book’s June 10 launch celebration, a release party was held at the Ronald Feldman Gallery in New York. The party also kicked off a special Warhol exhibition at the gallery, Takes and Outtakes from The Andy Warhol Museum, which runs through July 30. Feldman was the main publisher of Warhol’s prints from approximately 1980 until the artist’s death in 1987.

Factory Diary: Andy Warhol Painting a Drag Queen, 1974 © 2004 The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh

Feldman vividly recalls what Warhol’s show-opening soirees were like back then. “When Warhol was alive, it was a block party. We never could get everyone into the gallery,” he says, noting the current exhibition is filled with items that represent Warhol’s life—including some that Feldman personally helped him to acquire.

“ We spent more time in flea markets and junky antique shows than we did at museums,” Feldman remembers. “He was a total workaholic. He was a great shopper, but he also was a shopper for ideas.” Smith says the Feldman exhibit is intended to remind New Yorkers that the main repository of those ideas is in Pittsburgh. Adds Feldman: “This is great material. We wish we could see it more often. The Warhol has turned out to be a national treasure.”

Feldman can’t believe anyone needs to be reminded of that. But for those who require convincing, there’s a “brick” that should do the trick.


A Fresh Look at Warhol’s Flowers
Collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University’s Hunt Botanical Institute helps The Andy Warhol Museum examine the theme of flowers throughout art history.

Visitors enjoy several of the Hunt Institute’s botanical prints during the opening event for Flowers Observed, Flowers Transformed.

Andy Warhol might have spent many hours at Carnegie Mellon University’s Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation if it had existed during his student years. But the institute, originally named the Rachel McMasters Miller Hunt Botanical Library, was formed in 1961, 12 years after the flower-loving artist graduated.

Four decades later, Warhol’s floral-themed work and the institute’s vast collection of botanical art have finally been intertwined, via The Andy Warhol Museum exhibition, Flowers Observed, Flowers Transformed. The museum’s 10th anniversary exhibition includes 36 items from the institute’s extensive collection of botanical art.

John Smith, The Warhol’s director of collections and research, says the idea grew out of an attempt to take a fresh look at Warhol’s body of work. The Warhol staff sought to examine themes in his creations and how themes throughout art history found their way into his art. The idea was to reassess him as part of a continuum, an art historical narrative, so to speak. According to Smith, Warhol’s work has never been presented in this way. “We wanted to show that Warhol was influenced and drew heavily from art history.” says Smith. “And the results of Warhol’s interaction with art history have in turn created more art history that has permeated contemporary art.”

Clockwise from top left:
Attributed to Johann Theodore de Bry (1561-1623 Germany).
© 2004 by Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Carnegie Mellon University.

Nicolas de Larmessin, Habit de Jardinier, ca. 1690. © 2004 by Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Carnegie Mellon University.

Andy Warhol, Tattooed Woman, ca. 1950s. © AWF

Andy Warhol, Flowers, 1974.

From that, the concept grew into using Warhol’s floral work as a platform for an historic examination of how flowers have been used, not only in the art world, but also in botany, natural history, the decorative arts, and other areas. “Flowers seemed the perfect theme to begin with because they were a principal motif of Warhol’s from the ’50s until 1986, a year before he died,” says Smith.

Finding pieces of artwork that could help convey The Warhol’s new approach was as easy as revisiting Warhol’s old stomping grounds, at Carnegie Mellon University. Hunt Institute, known internationally in academia but practically unheard of in its own backyard, was filled with perfect examples from its art department, which holds more than 30,000 original paintings, drawings,
and prints dating from the Renaissance to the present. And the staff was happy to participate in the exhibition. “Some of the institute’s finest work is in the exhibition,” says James J. White, curator of art and principal research scholar at the institute.

“ The Warhol borrowed twice as many as we would ordinarily show at any one time,” White adds, explaining that half of the works will be shown during the first part of the exhibition, then will be replaced by other pieces during the second half because of concerns about exposing the delicate paintings to too much light. White promises there will be little difference in what viewers will see, but adds, “They should just come back again.”


Flower-Inspired Programs Expand Exhibition
As part of the Flowers Observed, Flowers Transformed exhibition, a series of related programs are planned for the public. Every Saturday from 2-4 p.m., in the 7th floor gallery, visitors will be invited to join The Warhol’s artist/educators along with poets, scholars, and garden experts for special flower-themed demonstrations, informal talks, and discussions. Floral teas and candies also will be served. All programs are free with museum admission.

July 10
Doug Oster, Backyard Gardener columnist at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, will give a talk entitled, Photographing Your Garden.

July 17
Jan Beatty, poet, will present a flower-themed poetry reading and Aimee McWherter-Compton and Regina Wilderman, hair designers, will present a flower-inspired fashion show.

July 24
Demonstrations of flower craft in Carpatho-Rusyn culture, presented as part of the museum-wide 7th Annual Carpatho-Rusyn event, 12–4 p.m.

July 31
Cheryl Nashbar, Bach Flower Essence instructor, will give a talk entitled, Warhol’s Flowers: Were They Healing Him?

August 7
Elisabeth Agro, curator of decorative arts at Carnegie Museum of Art, will give a talk entitled, Flowers in Decorative Arts.

August 14
Laura Winter, garden educator and director of Green Millennium Garden, will give a talk entitled, Eating Your Flower Arrangement and Other Garden Delights.

August 21
Kathy McGregor, Sylvania Natives nursery director, will give a talk entitled, Natives and Invasives: Restoring Plants in Pennsylvania.

August 28
Amy Lamb, nature photographer and Ph.D. in biology, will present a hands-on demonstration entitled, Botanical Photography: Growing and Pressing Flowers.

September 4
May Beth Steisslinger of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy will give a talk entitled, From Seeding to Killing: A Day in the Life of a Restoration Biologist.

The exhibition Flowers Observed, Flowers Transformed has been supported in part by The Roy A. Hunt Foundation.

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Copyright (c) 2003 CARNEGIE magazine. All rights reserved.