Saturday, November 04, 2006

Yoko? Oh, Nooooooooo!

It started for me with the question posed after we'd forked over our entrance fee at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.
"Do you have a camera with you and do you plan on carrying it around the museum?" I mumbled some negative inanity indicating I was entering the museum sans lense. The utter ridiculousness of the question hit me when we got off the elevator on the seventh floor (it's suggested that you start at the top floor and tumble down to the lower floors, gathering Warholia as you roll). One of the most open and thieving artist in his day now has his amalgamation of work protected from unlicensed photography. What a great joke and a kick to the stomach to start off the tour. Warhol's stuff is mainly (to this writer) negativity anyway; what better way to view his work and his colleague's works than with an attitude of negativity heaped on me at the museum's entrance?

The museum is contained within the proper Frick & Lindsay Building. "Built like a battleship, dressed like a bride" is an apt description. It's just a few streets from the absolutely gorgeous PNC Bank Park where the Pirates (try to) play baseball. PNC Bank park is, IMHO, sweeter than Camden Yards and PNC Bank in Philly. The view from the park to downtown Pittsburgh is gorgeous. For night games, especially when the Bucs are not playing to any potential, looking past the left field bleachers, toward the distant future of a Pirates winning season, is a panorama to take your mind off the game. In fact, if the Mets/Yankees finally do build a new stadium, they should take their cue from Pittsburgh and build it in New Jersey with the views out toward the outfield opening up to the NYC skyline.

I love the Warhol Museum's building. Business-like inside and out. Lots of concrete and I-beams inside, an Andrew Carnegie favorite. The gray of the concrete dulls the pallet for the colors of the works. On the floor where Warhol's Heinz 57 boxes lie, the feel is Warehouse circa 1960. The Factory has to have an inventory facility; why not something like this?

(though everyone pulls out their camera phone to take a snap when they're in the Floating Pillows Exhibit. There's a museum "guard" just outside the entrance to this room who sits and preserves all other items on that floor from your lens)

On the third floor of the museum, on one of the longest continual walls is a display of "The Butterfly Cards", if I recall the piece label correctly. As I found out just before I got to the end of the exhibit, wondering who came up with such a saccharine display in a mostly un-sweet museum, Yoko Ono was here making her presence felt.
I am not a fan of Yoko Ono. In fact, if the word were to exist, I am an anti-fan of Yoko Ono. To borrow Mr. Warhol's expression, her vehicle of 15 minutes of fame has been double-parked for the last 20 years. I'm waiting for those NYC tow trucks to take her away. Where the hell are they? Well, they certainly weren't parked on Sandusky Street waiting to cart off her work, which was parked up on the third floor of the museum. Frankly, I was stunned. She and Warhol were not the best of buds; more like an equal opportunity leaching society. Her work consisted of sets of postcards and pictures la-la-laing about how we should live possession free and in the service of love to others. I wonder if she came up with this stuff while traipsing through her apartment acreage in the Dakota? As an appreciator of the arts, I stink; I have a very difficult time seperating the the art form the artist. And with Yoko Ono, to me the tow are one and the same. When will this blip on the art screen disappear?

Winding it all down to the positive, in the basement of the building is a serviceable dining area where one can munch on hot sandwiches and cold beer. The beer, though of a properly soothing temperature is not Pittsburgh's own. Instead the brews are from Philly and other PA points east. There is also an "Art School" and kid's art area where 20 yr olds in Warhol-era costumes (or is that their own regular clothing?) actually smile as they encourage kids and adults innocently bumbling into the space to discover their inner "Andy". If the staff had allowed me to bring in my camera, I may have had a chance to clip a shot and post my inner "Andy" here. You'll just have to use your imagination, I guess.

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