Our 2022 Road Trip #3: We Shot Andy Warhol

Princess Caroline!

Princess Caroline, 1983.

We’d been to Pittsburgh three times prior to 2022 — in 2010, in 2017, and in 2018 — but one particular site evaded our sight every time: the Andy Warhol Museum. All three times, a variety of circumstances made it impossible to line up our schedule with theirs. Either we arrived in town late and they closed early, or we had to leave early the next morning before they opened. That’s what we get for our past use of Pittsburgh as a pit stop between other cities rather than devoting a full day or two to Pittsburgh in itself.

This year we remedied that oversight by structuring Day One entirely around the Warhol Museum’s opening hours. As it happens, they’re open late on Friday nights, so we planned a six-hour drive from home on Friday, bought timed museum tickets for that evening (which their site recommended), and prayed no traffic, construction equipment, or bridges would explode in our faces. We do love it when a plan comes together.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Since 1999 Anne and I have taken one road trip each year to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home. We’re geeks more accustomed to vicarious life through the windows of pop culture than through in-person adventures. After years of contenting ourselves with everyday life in Indianapolis and any surrounding areas that also had comics and toy shops, we chucked some of our self-imposed limitations and resolved as a team to leave the comforts of home for annual chances to see creative, exciting, breathtaking, outlandish, and/or bewildering new sights in states beyond our own, from the horizons of nature to the limits of imagination, from history’s greatest hits to humanity’s deepest regrets and the sometimes quotidian, sometimes quirky stopovers in between. We’re the Goldens. This is who we are and what we do.

For 2022 we wanted the opposite of Yellowstone. Last year’s vacation was an unforgettable experience, but those nine days and 3500 miles were daunting and grueling. Vermont was closer, smaller, greener, cozier, and slightly cooler. Thus we set aside eight days to venture through the four states that separate us from the Green Mountain State, dawdle there for a bit, and backtrack home…

As I mentioned when I covered our Roy Lichtenstein experience in Columbus back in May (and in brief mentions in other art galleries throughout MCC’s history), Pop Art has been my jam since junior high. I could elaborate more, and talk a bit about the museum itself in overlong paragraphs, as is my usual approach. Or…how about first we dive right into a selection of his works across the decades and save any other exposition until the next chapter? Regardless of whether or not you know much about him? Sound good? Cool.

Here, see some Warhols we saw, in approximate chronological order:

Success is a Job in New York!

His illustration for a 1948 Glamour Magazine article called “Success is a Job in New York”. What an era.

folding screen!

One of several folding screens he decorated back in the ’50s.

Typewriter 2!

Typewriter [2], 1961.

Wigs!

Wigs, 1961.

This Side Up!

This Side Up, 1962.

Joan Crawford!

Joan Crawford, 1962. One of several portraits he drew of actresses from his adolescence.

Hospital!

Hospital, 1963.

Elvis 11 Times!

Elvis 11 Times [Studio Type], 1963. Absolutely impossible to shoot all 11 Elvises head-on due to a pair of load-bearing columns in the middle of the room.

Silver Liz!

Silver Liz [Studio Type], 1963.

Most Wanted Men No. 12!

Most Wanted Men No. 12, Frank B., 1964.

TV Guide Agent 99 Cover by Andy Warhol!

Cover art for a 1966 issue of TV Guide starring Barbara Feldon as Get Smart‘s Agent 99.

Silver Clouds!

Silver Clouds, Warhol’s contribution to a 1966 multimedia dance hall event called the Exploding Plastic Inevitable. More simply put: a room where we could whack semi-inflated floating balloons around in midair.

Intermission here to observe Warhol stepped away from the easel, his silkscreen, and his mass-repro mockery to declare himself a filmmaker and churn out some 650 underground flicks over the next several years. The museum showed clips from a few of them on loops, just enough to confirm they weren’t my thing. He then unretired from the two-dimensional art world circa ’72 and became more prolific than ever till his unexpected death in 1987.

Listerine Bottle!

Listerine Bottle, 1975.

Skull and Skull!

Skull (1976) and Skull [“Bright Yellow” Skull] (also 1976).

Oxidation!

Oxidation, 1978.

Diamond Dust Shoes!

Diamond Dust Shoes, 1980. One of many, many shoe-themed exhibits on the premises.

Trump Tower!

Trump Tower, 1981. Two of eight paintings done at the landlord’s behest without a contract, only to suffer rejection because, as he was more or less told, they would clash with the lobby.

Seismograph!

Seismograph, 1982.

Dolly Parton!

Dolly Parton, 1985. Another case of rejection for the artist, whose subject disliked the results.

Heads After Picasso!

Heads (After Picasso), 1985.

Madonna I'm Not Ashamed!

New York Post (Madonna: I’m Not Ashamed), 1985.

To be continued!

* * * * *

[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for other chapters and for our complete road trip history to date. Follow us on Facebook or via email sign-up for new-entry alerts, or over on Twitter if you want to track my faint signs of life between entries. Thanks for reading!]

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