Fifteen Minutes and Counting
Baltimore has had a fascinating relationship with Andy Warhol, and the BMA’s upcoming Warhol exhibit is the show to see this fall.
By John Lewis, Baltimore Magazine, October 2010
Baltimoreans can feel some measure of pride visiting The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. Located downtown in a renovated industrial warehouse—a “factory,” if you will—just a few miles from where Warhol grew up, the sprawling complex houses a gritty and glittering retrospective of his life, with some familiar artwork and Baltimore personalities in the mix.
There’s a huge Last Supper canvas on view. And there’s a massive Camouflage painting and a “fright wig” Self-Portrait, too—just like at the BMA.
Standing at one of the 50 plus video monitors devoted to Warhol’s work, watching him create one of his signature pieces, you might notice that he’s listening to Billie Holiday as he paints; on another screen, he’s interviewing Frank Zappa’s kids, Dweezil and Moon; and on the most prominently displayed screen, there’s an interview Warhol did with John Waters, Divine, and Van Smith, the makeup artist who developed Divine’s distinctive look.
It’s a hoot listening to Waters tell Warhol about visiting the Enchanted Forest theme park and, in a Bawlmer accent, recall overhearing a mother tell a hilariously succinct summation of the Sleeping Beauty story to her children: “That’s Sleepin’ Beauty. She’s sleepin’.” The segment also includes film clips with locals such as Edith Massey and Jean Hill, and you can even buy Waters’s latest book (Role Models) and CD (A Date with John Waters) in the museum store.
“The Warhol [Museum] loves John Waters,” says the store’s clerk. “We like Baltimore, too; it seems like there’s a lot going on there.”
It’s particularly notable because Warhol has had a fascinating relationship with Baltimore, both during his lifetime and, especially, since his death in 1987.
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