Andy Warhol IS off the beaten track, not your “normal” artist, if there is such a thing. He is mostly known for his Pop art. His museum in Pittsburgh is a must see. From outside, just a basic, older building with a banner proclaiming its contents. Inside it is all Warhol…well there are a couple of other complimentary artist exhibitions.
Unless you obsess with reading every description and title, the six floors can be done in a reasonable time…and no matter what I include in this description, your experience will be different. Of the approximately 5,000 works the museum owns, they only display about 500 at a time…and they change it out every other week!
While I was there a few days ago, I experienced the ethereal “Cloud Room”, part of a permanent collection. Pillow-shaped Mylar objects float on currents of air stirred by fans while I walked among the clouds! Really fun…even when they glanced off my body.
The film room is a bit overwhelming. There are several screens with films showing all at once against a totally black room. The star shaped seats have labels that describe the film and headphones are available to listen in. Many are fashion shows of the 60′ and 70s. I sat and watched one, this was easier to handle.
Of course, there are tomato soup cans and typical icons of the era, but there are also sketches, photography, film strips from the kind you used to pose in a booth, quiet films of Warhol painting, one shows him painting with a foam-headed mop…some of his commercial art…and a room dedicated to his life and troubles…start here. He used illegal substances, was shot, met the Pope…he had a very full and chaotic life.
If you think of advertising logos and Marilyn Monroe when you think of Warhol, that is only a piece of his genius. He was fascinated by film, Hollywood, strippers and Playboy Bunnies. He even started his own magazine, Interview so he would be invited to important entertainment events!
His famous quote, “In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes,” is still popular.
The museum has what they call “Guide by Cell”. If an artwork has a picture of a cell phone by it…dial a phone number, enter the prompt number next to the art, press the # key and hear about the work. Cool!
If you get tired you can sit on the sheet draped foam forms in the middle of some of the rooms. Nobody sat on them while I was there…they probably thought…as I did…that it was some kind of construction or new exhibit…a guide set me straight.
There is a small cafe in the basement along with the “Weekend Factory” where you make art to take home from the supplies available. Free for any age with admission.
Photography is prohibited, there are artist-looking people stationed in most rooms to remind you.
On Fridays they are open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. otherwise they are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and they are closed on Mondays. Parking is an attended lot catty-cornered from the museum.
There is a small, but nice store on the main floor. It is NOT obvious…off to your right if you are standing facing the lobby sitting area from the main entrance. It used to be a closet.
Go make your own 15 minutes of fame!