The Andy Warhol Museum celebrates 20 years


Alyssa Ferguson’s own art has been inspired by Andy Warhol’s work.

Ferguson, a junior majoring in digital media and studio art, has spent countless hours at the Andy Warhol Museum, but a new addition and renovated exhibit is what she really can’t wait for. 

“[Warhol’s] iconic mark-making process using bright colors and replication has been imitated in many of the art courses that I have taken at Pitt,” she said.

The museum, located in the North Side, will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a black tie gala on Saturday, where 650 guests will celebrate the relaunching and renovation of the collection of Andy Warhol’s work. 

Tickets to the event cost $500, according to Brooke Perkins, the marketing intern at the museum.

Teresa Heinz, widow of H.J. Heinz III, heir to the H.J. Heinz Company, will serve as the honorary chair of the event, and the co-chairs will be American fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg and American art collector and film producer Jane Holzer. 

The collection’s renovation, which will debut at the gala, will introduce a more accurate chronology of Warhol’s work. When the museum opened in 1994, the vision was to portray Warhol’s work chronologically. Information on the website said that since the collection has expanded over the years, the installation of newer works changed the original chronological flow. The exhibits now begin on the seventh floor of the museum with family photos from the 1930s, as well as Warhol’s earliest paintings and drawings. The work will move through his life as viewers descend floors of the museum, where they can view film and video gallery of Warhol’s films and TV episodes on the fourth floor.

Although Ferguson won’t be attending the gala, she plans to visit the museum after the celebration is complete.

“Andy Warhol’s art has inspired artists all over the world for years and continues to do so because of his unique style and famous silk screened reproductions of modern pop images,” Ferguson said.

The Andy Warhol Museum first opened on May 15, 1994, drawing 14,000 visitors in just the first 12 hours, according to the museum website. It is one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, and has attracted over 1.56 million visitors since its opening, including well-known names like Michelle Obama. The museum’s collection includes a vast array of Warhol’s work, including 900 paintings, 100 sculptures and 4,000 photographs.

The latest renovation has been in the works since January, Perkins said.

“During the renovation, the museum itself did not shut down. Only one floor was closed and a couple of small galleries,” Perkins said.

Those who will not be attending the gala, like Ferguson, can still be involved. The museum will also host a Community Day between midnight on Saturday and Sunday at 5 p.m., when the museum will be open to the public for free.

According to the museum’s website, Community Day will showcase work from its Education Department, which offers a variety of programs for museum visitors, students, teachers and the community, and will focus on families, who director Eric Shiner said are an important part of the Warhol audience. 

There will be a hands-on art making studio and programs exploring Warhol’s artistic practices, as well as a youth fashion show, where local teen designers will be able to show off their creations. 

A new exhibition will also open on Sunday called “Halston and Warhol: Silver and Suede,” which examines the interconnected lives and work of Warhol and Roy Halston Frowick, a fashion designer in the 1970s. The two artists shared a focus — they were both intrigued by pop culture icons and their work reflected it. The exhibition will combine Halston’s garments and accessories with photography, video and paintings by Warhol.

This weekend-long event celebrates the Andy Warhol Museum and all it has accomplished in the past 20 years. 

Pittsburgh native Robin Bullock, 49, said she always enjoys her visits to the museum.

 “The Warhol Museum is a one-of-a-kind place that goes beyond the normal meaning of a ‘museum’ and continuously changes in order to redefine both itself and its connections to the community,” Bullock said. “The museum does an excellent job offering programs and events that anyone can attend, which really provides an interactive and unique experience.”