25th Anniversary Warhol Gala

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Andy Warhol, one of the most influential artists and pop culture icons in history, is renowned for his characterizations of consumerist culture and collaborations with artists like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. He is also one of the most prolific artists in modern times with thousands of works in circulation; the Andy Warhol Museum in the artist’s home town of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania houses over 12,000 of his works which cross all types of mediums including video, painting, and screen prints. The museum originally opened its doors on May 13th, 1994 in collaboration with The Carnegie Institute, the Dia Art Foundation, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts as an effort to perpetuate the artist’s legacy after his death in 1987. On October 19th, 2019, the museum celebrated its 25th year in operation with an elaborate 24-hour gala which included a live contemporary art auction, black-tie seated dinner with entertainment, and a VIP preview of Andy Warhol: Revelation, the museum’s latest exhibition.

Apart from his artistic endeavors, Warhol was also known for his uninhibited lifestyle. During the height of his career in Manhattan, the artist was no stranger to the nightlife in the city. It is only fitting, then, that a sophisticated night of cocktails in the museum would be followed by a late-night dance party and DJ set by RJD2 and Operation Sappho. The special entertainment for the evening would be revealed to be “a kitschy troupe of dancers wearing glitter costumes intended to evoke the disco ’70s,” recalling Warhol’s fervor for popular culture and imagery between the 60s and 80s. Attendants of the gala were also invited to view Andy Warhol: Revelations, an exhibit which revolves around the artist’s relationship with religion. This relationship was as prevalent in his life as the culture of partying and ­entertainment, so it is only fitting that an event of this magnitude would be accompanied by a demonstration of his faith as well. The combination of these events enables the guests of the museum to feel closer to the artist by giving them a taste of his lifestyle in an utterly Warholian fashion.

In addition to the hundreds of guests who attended the gala, the museum also opened its doors to the public on October 20th for a free Community Day. Attendants of this event were able to participate in artmaking, performances, art installation as well as gallery talks and activities. Warhol’s work is considered to be extremely accessible to the general public because it is composed of imagery from popular culture. Tickets to the Andy Warhol Museum already fall below the rising standard museum ticket price, subverting the association of fine art with the rich and famous. Allowing the public to experience Warhol’s work for free preserves the legacy of the artist’s work as congenial and approachable. With hundreds of guests in attendance on October 19th and 20th, it is evident that the impact of Andy Warhol and his work is as substantial today as it was in the late 20th century.