directors'noteFall 2011
“We view The Warhol as a social incubator, a place for experiment and play, a site for performances both visual and aural, and an ever-evolving classroom where lifelong learning is encouraged on all fronts. ”
- Eric Shiner, Director, The Andy Warhol Museum

Photo: Ric Evans

As the newly appointed director of The Andy Warhol Museum, it is a great honor to welcome you to the pages of CARNEGIE magazine—and hopefully someday soon to The Warhol.

The Andy Warhol Museum is a dynamic institution powered by a diverse and talented staff that shares the common goal of promoting the life, work, and artistic sensibilities of the great American artist, Andy Warhol. In his own right, Warhol completely reinvented the ways in which we understand the world around us through painting, photography, film, and countless other media. In a similar fashion, we here at The Warhol endeavor to continuously rethink the visual and popular culture of our age in new and exciting ways. We strive to think outside of the box, and move beyond evolution, into revolution.

Our current yearlong The Word of God series is a wonderful example of such a revolution in thought. While most people—and museums—shy away from the topic of religion, we’ve embraced it by exhibiting the works of contemporary artists who explore the sacred texts of world religions through art. We began with the work of Los Angeles artist Sandow Birk, who created a cross-cultural version of the Koran, and we’ll end the series early next year with the work of Jeffrey Vallance, whose writings and studies often center on relics and religions. Through the course of these exhibitions, our staff is engaging the public—particularly, young people—in conversations about religion, the human pursuit of belief, and what we can all learn from our shared and differing faith.

On October 2, The Warhol will be showcasing revolutionary work of a completely different kind with the opening of the exhibition Heroes & Villains: The Comic Book Art of Alex Ross. Curated by our own Jesse Kowalski, The Warhol’s director of exhibitions, Heroes and Villains looks at how one man’s strong belief in the power of good and evil led him into the fantastic world of comic book art. Did you know that Andy Warhol’s first paintings featured imagery culled from mainstream comic books like Superman and Dick Tracy? Like Warhol, Alex draws inspiration from pop culture in all its forms, and we’re happy and honored to be the first museum in the world to host an exhibition of his work.

The Warhol team really does view the museum as a social incubator, a place for experiment and play, a site for performances both visual and aural, and an ever-evolving classroom where lifelong learning is encouraged on all fronts. As with Warhol, we value the juxtapositions between high and low culture and understand that a well-balanced institution must be able to navigate effortlessly between those two spheres. We therefore promote the serious, just as we highlight the mundane. We do this in an effort to engage and educate; to entertain and to integrate.

We’ll continue doing this as we work closely with our colleagues across the Carnegie Museums family—a rare and dynamic group of museums and talent—to cross-pollinate our programming in an effort to meld art and science, learning and experience. In my new role, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to do all that I can to move The Warhol and Carnegie Museums into a very bright future, well beyond a mere 15 minutes of fame.

Thank you for your support!

Eric C. Shiner, Director,
The Andy Warhol Museum



Also in this issue:

In Praise of the Superhero  ·  For the Birds and the Environment  ·  Picturing Pittsburgh  ·  The STEM solution  ·  NewsWorthy  ·  Face Time: Kristoffer Smith  ·  Science & Nature: Big on Brains  ·  Artistic License: Architectural Wonder  ·  First Person: Summer Dreaming  ·  The Big Picture