Evelyn Burrow Museum exhibit celebrates artist Andy Warhol

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HANCEVILLE – The Evelyn Burrow Museum at Wallace State Community College welcomes a special exhibit featuring works celebrating American artist, director and producer Andy Warhol. “FIFTEEN MINUTES: Homage to Andy Warhol, an Exhibition of Sight and Sound” will be on display from August 29 to October 31 in the main gallery of the museum.

The “FIFTEEN MINUTES” exhibition, which includes reflections on the legacy of Andy Warhol, was curated and produced by conceptual artist Jeff Gordon and painter Path Soong. It features both audio and visual artistry in its collection of silkscreen prints and original recordings. The audio works range from spoken word to music and sound created by a diverse roster of artists, writers and performers who knew, worked with or were inspired by Andy Warhol.

Complementing “FIFTEEN MINUTES” are 15 pieces of Warhol’s artwork on loan from the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the Huntsville Museum of Art, and the Booth Western Art Museum.

“FIFTEEN MINUTES: Homage to Andy Warhol” is named after Warhol’s famous quote: “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”

Gordon first conceptualized the idea of producing sound recordings by visual artists in the early 1980s. His first endeavor, Revolutions Per Minute (1982), packed 20 of these recordings on a double LP, in a box with 20 visual prints by the 20 artists. The idea turned into a traveling exhibition, and the boxes were purchased by art world collectors, museums, galleries and audio connoisseurs and served as a precedent to the “FIFTEEN MINUTES” traveling exhibition and box set.

This exhibition juxtaposes each artist's 12-by-12 inch, album-sized visual image with an audio work created in homage to Warhol. For instance, Patti Smith's poem "Edie," muses on the life and death of Warhol Superstar Edie Sedgwick, Nat Finkelstein's screen-printed photograph shows Warhol and Bob Dylan in the Factory with one of Warhol's Elvis paintings in the background. In his song, "When I Paint My Masterpiece," Dylan critiques the Warholian notion of fame and success. Gordon's screen print modifies one of Warhol's Brillo Box sculptures as a visual analogy to his sound piece, which loops excerpts from a Warhol interview and lasts for the proverbial 15 minutes.

One of the most influential contemporary artists in pop culture, Warhol was born Andrew Warhola on Aug. 6, 1928, in Pittsburgh, Pa., one of three sons born to parents who immigrated to the United States from what is now modern-day Slovakia, according to the Warhol Museum website. While in elementary school, he took free art classes at the Carnegie Institute, which became the Carnegie Museum of Art. He attended college at Carnegie Institute of Technology, which became Carnegie Mellon University.

After college, he moved to New York City and some of his first works appeared in Glamour magazine in a 1949 story called “What is Success?” He became an award-winning illustrator for clients like Tiffany & Co, Columbia Records and Vogue.

The 1960’s pop art movement boosted Warhol’s career. The 1961-piece Coca-Cola was one of Warhol’s first pop paintings based on comics and ads. It blended both pop and abstraction, which he turned away from at the beginning of his career before experimenting with it again in the 1980s, the museum website states.

Photographic style screen printing became his calling card, with pieces depicting famous celebrities of the day, including Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and Elizabeth Taylor. In the 1970s, he started using Polaroid photographs in his work, including in his celebrity portraits and still life images throughout the ’70s and ‘80s.

He died Feb. 22, 1987, leaving behind a legacy as one of the most prolific artists of his generation.

For more information about the exhibit or The Evelyn Burrow Museum, call the museum at 256-352-8457 or visit www.burrowmuseum.org. The Evelyn Burrow Museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.