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Monday, Sept. 21, 2009

Milwaukee Art Museum’s Intriguing Warhol Exhibits, Programs

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The Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) opens “Andy Warhol: The Last Decade” on Sept. 26 in the Baker/Rowland Galleries, and museum organizers have planned a host of follow-up events to engage the community throughout the next few months. By highlighting Warhol’s artistic resurgence late in his career, the exhibit and programming help to redefine one of the most influential artists of the second half of the 20th century.

The exhibition is the culmination of nearly a decade’s worth of preparation from conception to completion, involving national and international loans from private and museum collections as well as the demanding physical logistics of finalizing the museum’s efforts to mount this “rich but complicated undertaking.” Transporting Warhol’s artwork to Milwaukee from countries around the globe, including Switzerland and Germany, has allowed the MAM to display these 50 paintings, prints, collages and collaborations with younger artists. Brady Roberts, MAM’s chief curator, and John McKinnon, assistant curator of modern and contemporary art, stressed that “this may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience: to see all these Andy Warhol paintings at one time, in one place.”

To further the appreciation of Warhol’s enormous influence, the MAM’s Gallery 21 presents his artwork from its permanent collection and pieces on loan from local collectors in “Andy Warhol: Pop Star,” also opening Sept. 26. The museum, which began acquiring the artist’s work in 1967, is surrounding these two exhibits with supplementary programming in order to intrigue the public. Roberts adds that the programming will involve “a few surprises in, outside and around the museum.”

For museum members, the grand celebration begins at 10 a.m. Sept. 24 with “12 Hours of Warhol.” Docent-led tours and lectures continue throughout the day until 10 p.m. There will be a 5 p.m. reception with complimentary appetizers and a 6:15 p.m. gallery talk. Non-members are invited to participate beginning at 5 p.m. for a fee.

Additional gallery talks are slated for Sept. 29 through Nov. 19, including select Tuesday afternoons at 1:30 p.m., Thursday Express Talks and lectures at noon and 6:15 p.m., and two unique Saturday lectures at 1:30 p.m. to discuss “Warhol and the Paris Scene” in conversational French.

A significant collaboration with the LGBT Film Festival on Oct. 22-23 hosts Vincent Fremont, a longtime Warhol Foundation representative who will add his expertise in assessing Warhol’s contributions to film and television. This includes the screening of Andy Warhol’s “Fifteen Minutes,” an original MTV half-hour video.

McKinnon says he hopes these exceptional programs allow the public to discover “a new look at Andy Warhol—the Andy you didn’t know.”

By coordinating these exhibitions with educational events, MAM leaders want to enrich the city’s understanding of Andy Warhol’s art and charisma. As Roberts states, “Warhol was a great artist, but also a great persona, defining a new way of what an artist could be… an artist bridging mass media with fine art.”

For additional information, visit www.mam.org or call (414) 224-3200.

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