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Andy Warhol Does Ohio

By Steve Rosen · August 13th, 2008 · The Big Picture
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This fall, Andy Warhol is continuing to make his ubiquitous pop-art presence felt in Ohio, some 21 years after his death. A new round of local Warholmania is coming, just in time for what would have been his 80th birthday -- he was born Aug. 6, 1928, in Pittsburgh.

It started here in Cincinnati in July, when the Cincinnati Art Museum partnered with Cincinnati Reds to finally make posters available of the original silkscreen-on-canvas painting Warhol was commissioned to make in celebration of Pete Rose breaking Ty Cobb's hits record in 1985.

At the time, a limited edition of Warhol-signed prints was sold to raise money to pay the commission. Since then, while you could buy postcards, posters were not available. Finally this year the art museum negotiated reprint rights with the Andy Warhol Foundation. Some 114 framed posters, each signed by Rose, were offered at $500 each and have quickly sold out. Roughly 1,000 unsigned, unframed posters were made available at the museum (and by the Reds) at $50 each. About 800 have sold. Requests have come from around the country, and the museum is negotiating with the Foundation for another edition of signed ones.

Next month, the Wexner Center for the Arts (wexarts.org) -- on Ohio State University's campus in Columbus -- debuts a major Warhol exhibit, Andy Warhol: Other Voices, Other Rooms. It brings together some 700 "films, videos, paintings, drawings, prints, wallpaper, installations, objects, seldom-heard audio recordings and extraordinary archival material," according to the Web site.

This is the only U.S. venue for the European-organized show, which opens Sept. 12 and runs until Feb. 15, 2009. (It should be pointed out that nearby Pittsburgh is home to the Andy Warhol Museum.) The Columbus show comes with two prestigious concert events. On opening night, Robert Forster of the Go-Betweens will perform songs by the Velvet Underground, the Art Rock band closely allied with Warhol that at one point toured with him. And on Nov. 20, Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips of the band Luna perform "13 Most Beautiful ... Songs for Andy Warhol's Screen Tests."

Meanwhile, from Sept. 9 to Oct. 19, the Robert & Elaine Stein Galleries at Dayton's Wright State University (www.wright.edu/artgalleries) will present I AM CAMERA: Photography of Andy Warhol. An inveterate snapshot-taker, Warhol is estimated in his last decade to have taken more than 100,000 Polaroids as well as larger photographs with his 35-mm camera. Last year, the Andy Warhol Foundation gave Wright State 155 of those as part of a program to gift 183 colleges and university art museums with the artist's underappreciated photographic work.

Incidentally, the 1966 cow wallpaper that will figure prominently in the Wexner show appeared at Cincinnati's Contemporary Arts Center when new, as part of the exhibition Holy Cow! Silver Clouds! Holy Cow!.

Warhol came with the show -- and gave CAC Director Bill Leonard a gift of an inflatable 6-foot-tall Baby Ruth bar. Eventually local gallery owner Carl Solway acquired it (and still has it). The Velvet Underground came to Cincinnati with Warhol and played the Music Hall Ballroom on Nov. 3, 1966.

Who knew then it all would prove to be so historic today? Warhol probably knew.


Contact Steve Rosen: srosen@citybeat.com

 
 
 
 

 

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