Back Issues
Carnegie MuseumsMedia Kit

Right: Artist/Educator Nicole Dezelon demonstrates Warhol’s silkscreening technique at a recent teacher workshop.




















Right: Maritza Mosquera, assistant curator of education, presents in-gallery activities to a group of local teachers.

Bill Shannon



John Kelly

The Warhol’s Artist Educators Help Teachers Teach

To say that Andy Warhol was a unique guy is, of course, an understatement. But his distinctly different approach to life and art has given The Andy Warhol Museum’s education department an equally unique challenge: how to translate Warhol’s distinctiveness into programs that use his art as a means of teaching students to think in broader contexts.

“ It’s less about teaching people how to do a Campbell’s Soup can and more about teaching them about the framework of thinking,” says Jessica Gogan, The Warhol’s assistant director for education and interpretation. “It’s not the ‘what’ of Warhol’s art that we teach, it’s the ‘how’ of his creative process and using it as a form of expression.” Gogan notes that people in the education field liken this learning concept to the adage, “Give me a fish and I eat for one day; teach me how to fish and I can eat forever.”

Warhol’s art provides the jumping-off point to teach the creative process and develop students’ skills. To that end, The Warhol’s education department has developed a variety of programs to help teachers stimulate their students’ critical, cultural, and aesthetic thinking processes, including a newsletter titled Education News, professional development seminars, teacher open houses, and learning labs. And,
in addition to providing a building full of stimulating art and a knowledgeable staff of artist educators, The Warhol also offers the Mellon Education Resource Center, which is an interdisciplinary library and resource center.

The open houses that are held each fall give teachers an introduction to The Warhol’s resources. The informal wine-and-snack receptions create a relaxed, social atmosphere in which teachers can see for themselves the instructional opportunities they’ll find at The Warhol.

The professional development programs help teachers build curricula and foster creativity among students. And teachers who are accepted into the museum’s Learning Lab help develop and test curriculum materials and contribute to the museum’s newsletter.

A core focus of the museum’s education resources is ensuring that all materials meet the loocal, state, and national art education standards as well as core standards across curricula. There are numerous arts standards that are all divided into four overarching categories: production; performance and exhibition; historical and cultural contexts; critical response; and aesthetic response.

“ For example, the state arts standard for critical response is designed to make sure that students can engage with artworks, look at them critically, and write their own critical responses,” Gogan says. In 2002-2003, using the exhibition, Americanisms: Shaping Art and Culture in the 1950s as a springboard, the education department developed a learning unit and model to fully address critical rsponse in the classroom. In that case, teachers worked with The Warhol’s artist educators to develop content for the annual Education News publication, which provides teachers with source material, lesson plans, and cross-curriculum activity ideas. Teachers and staff then field-tested the unit; and the result will be featured as part of the museum’s online kindergarten-through-12th grade teaching curriculum.

“ We’ve been doing these newsletters and offering expanded content and resource material within a kind of learning unit framework so teachers can follow it as if it were a recipe. Or they can pick and choose what they’d like to use,” Gogan says.
“ Overall, what we’re trying to do,” she adds, “is to develop model frameworks using Warhol’s art that we and others can use to teach critical response and other core standards.”

While the museum’s programming and resources have proven very successful, the initiatves are still fairly new. Gogan says she looks forward to a time 10 years or so down the road when educators can look back at these programs and determine just what their impact has been on the students they taught. In the meantime, she and her staff will continue working to make The Warhol as user-friendly as possible—for both teachers and the students whose minds they help mold.

Teacher programs and resources are supported in part by The Grable Foundation and the W.L.S. Spencer Foundation.


Sample Great Wine at The Warhol

Just as Andy Warhol had a knack for plucking away at the art world’s highbrow, The Warhol Café’s monthly wine-tasting sessions squeeze the snobbery right out of grape appreciation.

The tastings, which began about a year and a half ago, give participants opportunities to sample products they can’t buy in Pennsylvania’s state stores. The selections are chosen and supplied by Dreadnought Wines in the Strip District and accompanied by hors d’oeuvres created by Café Manager Chris Noonan, an employee of Café operator Big Burrito Restaurant Group.

“ The Café is a neat, cozy little environment. It’s a unique atmosphere to have a wine-tasting,” says Noonan. The relaxed, unpretentious setting and the scale of wines presented—most are under $12—gives participants the feeling that they’ve discovered a cool little secret.

“ Some people are amazed how good the $8.50 bottles are,” says Noonan, who praises bargain-priced South American and Australian varieties.

Tastings are held the last Friday of each month as part of the museum’s Good Fridays programming. Before each session, Noonan and Dreadnought owner Michael Gonze talk about tasting themes. Noonan likes to highlight geographical regions.

“ I want to do a Spanish tasting, or I want to do an Italian tasting,” he says. “From those discussions, Mike gives me a list of what he’s going to serve. Then I come up with the food.”

Gonze usually picks two reds and two whites, though lately he’s been throwing in a fifth—a rose—to help dispel prejudices against the pinks. Noonan reports blends are also getting hotter now; they’re even attracting new wine drinkers who weren’t lured by reds or whites. As more evidence that wine-drinking cycles through trends, Noonan says chardonnays are on their way out; sauvignon blancs and pinot grigios are in.

Once the wines are selected, Noonan creates his menu. He keeps it simple, partly for budget reasons, and partly not to overwhelm the wines.

He always includes “three or four nice cheeses,” along with charcuterie-style meats, a spread such as a pate or tapenade, and lots of crackers and crostini. Noonan often turns to his colleagues at Casbah, another Big Burrito restaurant, for food suggestions and preparation. Because the Café lacks a proper kitchen, he relies on his former co-workers to create those customized spreads. He’s also a popular customer in the Strip.

“ They like me at Penn-Mac. They know when I walk in, something’s going on,” Noonan says with a laugh.

He says the tastings have helped create more buzz about the museum and Café, as well as Dreadnought’s wines. They’ve also increased the museum’s profile as a place to hold private events, including tastings.

Art, wine, and food belong together, according to Noonan, and as far as he’s concerned,The Warhol provides the perfect setting for all three.

The $12 wine-tasting fee includes a $5 museum admission charge. Walk-ins
are welcome.


the warhol: The Place for Performance Art

Lone Twin

The goal of any museum is to lure visitors inside to inspect its contents. But a few years ago, The Andy Warhol Museum declared its intent to reach far beyond its function as a repository of artistic images. With the mission statement, “The Warhol: More than a Museum,” the museum began turning its North Shore building into a place of inspiration; a place to find the unexpected, and to be intrigued—and entertained—by it.

The idea was to break out of the realm of visual art and into exploration of all other art forms, including performance, as Warhol himself had done. “Since Warhol was so prolific and worked in so many realms —his Factory, in essence, was a big performance arts space—there’s a really obvious connection for live art in the museum,” says Assistant Curator for Performance Ben Harrison.

Using The Warhol’s already-existing happy hours as a jumping-off point, staffers did a little brainstorming and came up with a performance art series they dubbed Off the Wall. That was four successful seasons ago.

The Warhol’s Director, Thomas Sokolowski, was the visionary behind the performance art series that began as a collaboration with Performance Space (P.S.) 122 in New York City, the preeminent national pioneer in performance art. Sokolowski invited Mark Russell, then-director of P.S. 122, to lead the way for The Warhol to get involved in presenting performances.

The Incredible String Band

Of course, generating live art in a museum designed for anything but presented a challenge. P.S. 122 was given the challenge of coming up with performances that would work in the museum’s non-traditional spaces and be low-impact both economically and to the valuable art works—which, despite the series title, were not about to come off the walls.


But Russell and Sokolowski dove right in and presented some of the most well-known and infamous performance art in the world in the very first season. In fact, Karen Finley was one of the first to perform at The Warhol. She was also one of the headline-grabbing NEA 4 who sued the National Endowment of the Arts, claiming its consideration of “decency” when awarding grants amounted to censorship. Her show involved throwing honey around and rolling in it. But staffers were determined to make the show go on, so they covered Warhol’s paintings in plastic and exhaled when she finished.

In January, the Off the Wall program will begin its fifth season, which will run through May. It will include more unique and titillating performances in both The Warhol’s traditional and non-traditional spaces, and also will take the program one step further by presenting at least one piece that will take place outside The Warhol’s walls altogether. Antony and the Johnsons, who performed at The Warhol in 2001, are expected to perform a variation of a new work that involves a collaboration with video artist Charles Atlas at the Hazlett Theater, the Pittsburgh Public Theater’s former North Side home. There’s also talk of collaboration with the African-American Cultural Center, whose debut season will begin this fall.

In addition to offering its annual Off the Wall program, The Warhol presents a wide variety of distinctive, and often provocative, live art performances as part of its Good Fridays program. The following is a sampling of live art performances through October.

Maura Nguyen Donohue



Upcoming Live Art Performances
Sep. 24: Japanese psychedelic-rock collective, Ghost, will perform at Good Fridays at 7 p.m. Hailing from Tokyo, the band is known for playing its improvisational style of music in unique locations—Buddhist temples, churches, subway stations, fields, caves—and now, The Warhol theater. California-based band Six Organs of Admittance will also perform. Tickets are $10 and are available in advance by calling 412.237.8300.

Oct. 9: British performance artists Gregg Whelan and Gary Winters—a.k.a. lone twin—will perform Walk with Me, Walk with Me, Will Somebody Please Walk with Me, at The Warhol at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. as part of the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts. Walk with Me is a quirky performance with an oddball, English sense of humor that appeals to a wide audience. Tickets are $20, $10 for students and members, and can be purchased by calling 412.456.6666 or online at www.pgharts.org/PIFOF.

Oct. 10: lone twin also will be performing a separate outdoor piece at 2 p.m. entitled, Clouds Over The Warhol. Audience members will gather in front of The Warhol for the beginning of the piece and walk to the Mattress Factory with lone twin as they attempt to make “clouds” from the water contained in their bodies. This is a free performance.

Oct. 22: The Warhol and The Calliope Folk Music Society will present 1960s legends and psychedelic-folk music pioneers The Incredible String Band (ISB) for an intimate performance at the Hazlett Theater as part of their first U.S. tour in 30 years. Most noted for their unique and eclectic sound, blending Celtic folk melodies with a variety of Middle Eastern and Asian instrumentation, ISB profoundly influenced the development of popular music in the ‘60s. Performance begins at 8 p.m. at the Hazlett Theater on the North Side. Tickets are $15, $10 for students, and are available beginning September 22 by calling 412.237.8300.

The International Festival of Firsts is a project of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust in association with the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. For three weeks in October, seven international dance, theater, visual art, and opera companies will present work never before seen in the United States.

Funding for The Warhol’s performing arts programming has been provided by the James H. Beal Fund, the Jack and Tally McKee Memorial Fund, and the Samuel and Carrie Arnold Weinhaus Memorial Fund of the Pittsburgh Foundation.

Back to Contents


Copyright (c) 2004 CARNEGIE magazine. All rights reserved.