Of the many talented creators with Pennsylvania roots, one of the most famous modern pop-artists is Andy Warhol. With work around the globe, Happy Travelers should know they can experience some of his best work at the largest, single-artist museum in the world right here in PA. The museum is so immersive that it earned a coveted spot on Discoverer’s 10 Coolest Museums in the US list.
Looking for more reasons to add the wonderful Warhol to your #PABucketList? Let’s dive in!
As an incredibly talented and globally recognized artist, Andy Warhol’s story began in Pittsburgh’s South Oakland neighborhood in 1928. During his early years in the Steel City, Warhol fully immersed himself in his passion for art. As his talents grew, he pursued a degree in commercial art from Carnegie Mellon University and his works soon garnered recognition for their very unique style. Following his death in 1987, Warhol’s oldest brother, John, sought to honor his legacy and encourage artists for generations to come by opening the doors of The Warhol Museum in 1994.
Located just a few blocks from Pittsburgh landmarks including the Riverfront and PNC Park, the Warhol experience is housed in a nearly 90,000-square-foot former industrial warehouse. A $12 million transformation of the space created the museum we know today. Spanning five full floors of this historic building, each level is dedicated entirely to Warhol’s artwork and archival materials. Chronicled by specific life stages, visitors will find timelines displayed on each floor that capture the major events in Warhol’s life and mirror the art they’re experiencing. Alongside Warhol’s works, these first five floors also house small collections of works by Warhol’s collaborators and friends. As visitors reach the lower floors, they can experience special exhibitions of works by artists affiliated with or influenced by Andy Warhol.
The museum’s collection of thousands of artworks and artifacts documenting the artist’s life are impressive, to say the least. However, apart from the vibrant displays and informative exhibits, perhaps the Warhol’s coolest element is its commitment to engaging visitors. There are many ways to interact with the museum, including the “Silver Clouds” gallery, based off a real Andy Warhol work and containing silver, helium-inflated pillows that visitors can move around the room.
Beneath the showroom space, visitors will find “The Factory” a hands-on art education studio, and the “Conservation Lab,” dedicated spaces that provide a behind-the-scenes look at museum conservation. Visitors can immerse themselves in the experience by attending the Warhol Theater’s daily film screenings and the daily gallery talks led by museum staff and art educators.
The museum also hosts an array of events, including workshops where visitors can use the museum’s studio to create art, performances by various groups, and outdoor art-focused workshops across from the museum. This past year, the Warhol produced a “Making It” series on YouTube that instructed viewers how to make iconic Warhol-inspired artworks while at home – truly committing to its mission no matter the circumstance. The museum also strongly embraces LGBTQ+ organizations, honoring Warhol’s life as an openly gay man by hosting exhibits and events dedicated to queer life and drag queens in Pittsburgh.
This fall, Happy Travelers can explore Marisol and Warhol take New York , Oct. 14– Feb. 14. This beautiful display highlights the evolution of pop art in the 1960s, exploring how each artist developed their individual personas, how they navigated gallery relationships, and of course, how they rose to success. The exhibition will feature iconic works and rarely seen films from The Warhol Collection’s achieves.
Once you’ve completed, your tour, go to the Warhol Shop for souvenirs of museum-related prints such as his iconic 1962 Campbell’s Soup design, or the 1967 banana, as well as distinctive apparel and gifts.
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