New exhibit graces Warhol

The first floor of the museum commemorates Warhol’s life and work. (credit: Sophia  Chang/) The first floor of the museum commemorates Warhol’s life and work. (credit: Sophia Chang/)

Entering the Andy Warhol Museum is like entering a strange, neon-colored land. The giant Brillo box statue across from the entrance and the neon purple and yellow cows printed on the walls are signs of the eccentric work that is to come.

The museum currently features a special exhibit called Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup Cans.” The exhibit, which opened Feb. 3, showcases some of the most influential work Andy Warhol ever made — think of the Marilyn Monroe silkscreen images and the Elvis Presley prints — as well as work from other artists that have emulated Warhol since his legendary art rocked the world.

Each floor of the museum has huge photos of Andy Warhol, along with famous quotes that exemplify his character. The last floor of the museum, part of the permanent collection, is dedicated to Andy Warhol’s life and features his diploma from Carnegie Mellon — a nice link between the past and the present. It is fascinating to go through all the floors and see different facets of Andy Warhol and the people he inspired, albeit a little repetitive at points.

The new exhibit begins on the seventh floor and is also installed in floors five, four, and two. As soon as visitors step into the gallery, they are greeted with massive self-portraits of Andy Warhol. Featuring his iconic silkscreen technique, the neon-colored canvases are a strong opening statement to the exhibit. Continuing into the gallery, there are several standout pieces, but these are hidden amidst the other pieces that honestly fail to spur excitement. Some of the pieces are just confusing. Although it is modern contemporary art, it is hard to see the artistic value or talent behind it.

One of the knockout pieces, an untitled work by Félix González-Torres, is a huge pile of candy on the ground, placed in a corner of one of the rooms. It seems very simple at first — until the description explains that the candy’s weight totals 175 pounds: the weight of González-Torres’s lover, who died of AIDS. According to the description, the candy is a representation of the perfect sweetness between Torres and his lover. As people walk by the exhibit and take pieces of candy — as they are encouraged to do — they are symbolically re-enacting the diminishing effect AIDS had on the artist’s lover. But they are also adding to his lover’s reincarnation when the museum replenishes the candy supply to its original 175-pound weight.

Other interesting pieces include a silkscreen print splattered with dark, white, and milk chocolate (“Black Star Black Press: Black Star, Black Press, Star” by Kelley Walker) and a giant box of cigarettes (“Helmsboro Country” by Hans Haacke). Of course, the museum also features Andy Warhol’s famous pieces like his Brillo boxes and his screen prints of famous celebrities. Different artists that were inspired by Warhol are featured as well, through videos, photographs, installation pieces, and screen prints.

The Andy Warhol Museum is a good place to visit if modern art interests you, especially since it’s free for Carnegie Mellon students. After all, Warhol is such an important part of Pittsburgh culture. Though I wouldn’t recommend visiting the museum multiple times, a trip to see the Regarding Warhol exhibit is definitely worth your time.