a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Monday, November 26, 2007

Those funny balloons

The creative staff at The Warhol in Pittsburgh has been doing some redecorating.

The small gallery on the first floor now has a cool timeline that walks visitors through the interesting life of Andy Warhol, from his 1928 birth into a working-class Rusyn immigrant family to his untimely death from heart failure in 1987.

The condensed biography running the length and height of four walls, however, leaves out the motive for a shooting that nearly left Warhol for dead in his studio. For those with inquiring minds, Valerie Solanas, a founder of the Society for Cutting up Men (SCUM) who also acted in a Warhol film, shot him in 1968 after she was turned away from the his studio, The Factory. (I'd have slammed my door in her face, too, for coming up with such a group)

The artwork that used to hang there can be found scattered among The Warhol’s vast collection that consumes seven floors of an old building at 117 Sandusky St., the largest museum in the world for a single artist.

Thankfully, they didn’t mess with the Silver Clouds Installation, a replica of a 1966 exhibit of helium filled balloons that dance with the wind from forced air. Warhol, it seemed, was put off by stuffy museums where visitors were not allowed to touch the art. Today, people can’t help themselves from smiling or letting loose and acting like a kid inside the room.

Through the end of the year, a collection of minimalist paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe is on display. The seven watercolors were completed in the 1970s when the artist was going blind in her 80s.

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(FYI - that's my incredibly talented niece Casey Beveridge in the photograph)

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