Tom’s post about the exhibit in Paris of Andy Warhol’s work reminded me of the wonderful Warhol experience I had this past fall at the Wexner Center and my interest in going to the Warhol Museum on Pittsburgh. Museums dedicated primarily to the work of one artist is a way to really see what made a particular artist tick and why his or her work is important to the art scene and culture.
If you want to dive into the world of Warhol, Pittsburgh is a place to start. There are two other American artists who have had an impact on American sensibilities and American contributions to the art scene. Both also have museums dedicated to them. The museums are also places to see works of others who have shared similar muses.
There are other important American artists, but these are the ones I know have museums dedicated to them. If you know of others, please do tell. The museum in the photo is not Warhol’s. Any guesses whose it is and where it is? Read on to find out.
Where? Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Why there? This is the city where Warhol was born and grew up.
What’s at the museum? 12,000 of Warhol’s pieces that include paintings, photographs, prints and video interviews. This sweeping retrospective encompases Warhol’s artistic endeavors from the 1940s to the 1980s.
Why is Warhol important? Warhol whose scope and amount of work can make a person dizzy, is partly responsible for the fusion of art, popular culture and celebrity. The thing about Warhol that I find so interesting is how he turned himself into a celebrity in the process of helping other’s find their spot in the limelight, however fleeting. Warhol is the one who coined the phrase “In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.”
Famous works: The portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Chairman Mao, plus Cambells soup cans, Brillo Pads and Warhol’s self-portraits among others.
What else is there? The Warhol Museum is dedicated to promoting the work of other contemporary artists. This weekend is the last chance to see the exhibits: The Vader Project: 100 Pop Surrealistic artists’ versions of Darth Vader’s helmet and The End: a collection of works by artists in response to the economic woes in the United States. These end on May 3, so hurry.
Where? Santa Fe, New Mexico. Why there? O’Keefe drew inspiration from New Mexico’s desert and made the state her home.
What’s at the museum? In the collection are 1,149 of O’Keeffe paintings, drawings and sculptures created between 1901 and 1984. This is the largest collection of O’Keefe’s work in the world. Through September 2009, the painting Jimsom Weed that hung in the White House dining room for 8 years will be on display. This is the flower pictured here.
Why is O’Keefe important? O’Keefe has held her own in a world dominated by men as an avant garde artist who helped form American Modernism. One trademark is her depictions of the natural world in a way that is lush, alluring, and sensual in a manner that is instantly recognizable as her own. Part of O’Keefe’s aim was to show “the wideness and wonder of the world as I live in it” as she put it.
Famous works: Flowers, cow skulls, New Mexico mountains and architecture.
What else is there? The museum also shows works of other contemporary American artists that typically highlight O’Keefe’s influence.
Where? Great Falls, Montana Why there? Charlie Russell moved to Montana from in 1880 ate age 16. He lived in Great Falls until his death in 1926.
What’s at the museum? On exhibit in the permanent collection are 2,000 pieces of Russell’s artwork that show his development as an artist and a storyteller of Western life. Also included are items that were his that highlight his life.
Why is Russell important? With dreams of being a cowboy, Russell switched to being a full-time artist after years of combining the two professions. His love of American Indians and western life helped him create paintings and sculptures that tell the story of the West by someone who knew it well. One of Russells quotes that has a resonance, I think with travelers. “Lonesome makes shy friends of strangers.”
Famous works: American Indians, scenery, cowboys. Two paintings of note. The Jerkline and The Fireboat. The Jerkline is pictured here.
What else is there? Contemporary American western art and photography of other western-themed artists. Here’s a place to learn more about western life through the years. Contemporary artists’ work are also on exhibit, as well as Russell era artists. One current special exhibit that caught my attention is Photographing Montana 1894-1928: The World of Evelyn Cameron. Cameron was a female photographer who captured thousands of images of life and scenery of the West.