Monday, December 29, 2008


So apparently the rules have changed at The Warhol since I visited last year. No photos.

Let me say that again. No. Photos. At The Warhol. It was one of the first things I was told after I showed the front desk person my media pass. I assumed that she meant that I wouldn't be able to take photos of special exhibitions, but just in case I asked for clarification. Yep, I heard her right. No photos in the museum. End of sentence, exceptionally abrupt period.

Yes, the museum that celebrates the artist who did more to free our sense of The Image (Coming at us and going away.) than any other in the last 100 years won't let you take any home with you. Disheartening to say the least. I would love to have shown you my annual shot of The Last Supper seen through the hard scrim of the the Warhol/Basquiat punching bags. I also would have shown you some black light Jesus mojo. With Liza's recent comeback it was a perfect time to see the lineup of Lorna Luft, Judy Garland, and Ms. Minelli on the wall, but you'll have to fly to Pittsburgh to see it. Lastly, I would have shown you one of the most interesting (and judging from a Google search, rare) things I've ever seen at the museum, Reflected (Zeitgeist Series). An awesome stuttering flow of RGB across a long canvas with the occasional drop-down action from color to color, the red into the blue and the blue into the green. And you won't be seeing the R, the G, or the B here.

It's exhausting to have to keep making the argument about the foolishness of a strict No Photos policy that I (and oh so many others) have to keep making. To have to make that argument against The Warhol is downright demoralizing. My walk through the exhibitions became one long battle with buzzkill. The other problem here is that the museum's online catalogue is virtually non-existent so if you can't make it to Pittsburgh you're out of luck. Hell, if you live in Pittsburgh and can't make it to the Northside you're out of luck. There are a handful of thumbnails and slightly larger jpeg's that can be found on the website, and that's about it. One of the best things about their previously open photo policy was that one could find a bounty of wonderful images online from visitors who were moved by their trip The Warhol. To limit access to art that feels so limitless is a bad thing. There are a thousand ways to suck. This is one of them.

Look. I love The Warhol. It's one of my favorite places on the planet. I'll get over it, but this is nothing short of the #1 drag of my art year.

UPDATE: Pittsburgh painter and art blogger Susan Constance set me straight on the Warhol photo policy. Apparently you can get a photo pass from the PR department. Still, a limiting policy. Warhol I love you, but Boooooo.


shea said...

Somehow, with all the new anti freedom laws, I think that President Bush is responsible for this in an indirect way. It's too bad and a shame. I don't think Andy would like this at all.

Sheree Rensel said...

This is so stupid and ridiculous. This seems to be getting more and more common in galleries and museums. It has a lot to do with power and greed. The whole scenario reeks of negative energy. However, the bad Karma will come back and bite them in the butt eventually.

P.S. Thanks at least for the verbal description of what you saw! :-)

Anonymous said...

soooo bogus.