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Indepth Arts News:

"Possession Obsession: Objects from Andy Warhol's Personal Collection"
2002-03-02 until 2002-05-19
Andy Warhol Museum
Pittsburgh, PA, USA

The Andy Warhol Museum will present Possession Obsession: Objects from Andy Warhol's Personal Collection - a rare opportunity to reunite approximately 300 objects from Warhol's personal collection (sold at the legendary 1988 Sotheby's auction) in order to examine one of the least-studied aspects of his oeuvre: collecting. The exhibition will focus on areas where Warhol maintained a deep, abiding interest, such as 19th-century American furniture and folk art, cookie jars and other collectibles, Art Deco furniture and objects, Native American art and artifacts and fine and costume jewelry.

Organized by The Andy Warhol Museum and curated by John W. Smith, archivist for The Warhol, the exhibition will explore the role that collecting played in the artist's life and the ways in which it influenced other aspects of his art.

Warhol began to collect seriously in the mid-1950s and continued to do so until his death in 1987. By the early 1970s, collecting had become an obsession with Warhol and he devoted a part of nearly every day to making the rounds of Manhattan flea markets, antique shops, jewelry stores and auction houses. Although Warhol's collection of cookie jars and other collectibles drew the greatest media attention, his collection also contained important examples of Federal-era furniture, Art Deco furniture and silver, 20th century painting and sculpture and more.

The 1988 Sotheby's auction of Warhol's collection received extensive media coverage, but has since been given very little serious critical attention. By presenting a focused, carefully selected group of objects from Warhol's collection, this exhibition aims to demonstrate that for Warhol, collecting was not merely a leisurely pursuit, but in fact represented a vital form of artistic practice. Through collecting, Warhol found another forum to explore his ideas about history, nostalgia, popular culture and consumerism, themes that are central to other areas of his work.

Says exhibition curator, John Smith, One of the earliest objects we have in the Warhol Museum collection is a scrapbook of autographed movie star photographs that Warhol assembled when he was a child. This marks the beginning of a passion that would stay with him throughout his life. By re-examining what Warhol collected and how he assembled his collection, we gain a deeper insight into his personality and his genius. We hope the exhibition will convey not only the seriousness with which Warhol approached collecting, but also the pleasure he found in searching out new and undiscovered categories of objects to collect. In Warhol's words, 'he was always looking for the five-dollar object that's really worth millions.'

Possession Obsession: Objects from Andy Warhol's Personal Collection will be presented within approximately 5,000 square feet of exhibition space on the 7th floor of The Warhol. Additionally, the Museum's Weekend Factory (every Saturday and Sunday 12-4 p.m.) will present hands-on art activities connected with the exhibition. The Museum's 110-seat theater will be used for lectures and other programming that will be planned in conjunction with the exhibition.

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