Thursday, June 25, 2009
Keith Edmier, sculpture of Farrah Fawcett
On a trip to Pittsburgh back in 2003 I decided to make an unplanned visit to the Warhol Museum. The night before I went I checked online to see what special exhibitions were up. Turned out to be a collaborative effort by Farrah Fawcett and a then-unknown-to-me artist named Keith Edmier. OK. The last time I had heard "art" and "Farrah Fawcett" in the same sentence was when she did something for the Playboy Channel that involved painting on canvases with her naked body. I wasn't expecting much.
Farrah Fawcett, sculpture of Keith Edmier
But I gotta say, it was a pretty damn delightful show that examined the relationship between idol and fan, muse and artist. In collaboration the lines were constantly blurred in both directions. Each artist did a nude life-size sculpture of the other. There were also smaller sculptures, drawings, and photographs. My favorite piece was a small sculpture of two hands, one open and one closed. There was an absolutely absorbing video about the artists' relationship and the process of their collaboration. The one thing that came through in the film was Fawcett's intelligence, both generally and specifically about what she and Edmier were doing together. On the side of the exhibit was a framed napkin that Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal had signed for Andy. A sweet touch, and a nice twist on the theme of the show.
Coming out of the exhibit I ended up talking with somebody who worked for the museum about what a nice surprise the show was. I've never forgotten a story he told me about picking up Farrah at the airport. Her plane had landed and then deboarded, but alas, no Farrah. Uh oh. Turns out that she was refusing to get off the plane until somebody could confirm for her that security was there to escort her. Not too long before this, Diane Keaton had come to town for the opening of her collection of clown paintings at The Warhol. Let's just say that there was some difficulty involved and leave it at that. This experience was fresh in their minds when Farrah was very much not getting off the plane. Things were not looking good. Well, security arrived, Farrah got off the plane, and guess what. As soon as she hit the public space, she was completely mobbed. She knew how this worked. Later, at the opening, she was nothing but generous and accessible with the staff and the other attendees. It's one thing to be an icon. It's another thing to understand exactly what that means to yourself and others. Farrah Fawcett did that until the very end. I can only imagine that Andy would have approved.