Exposures 4: Travis K. Schwab: Lost and Found


Free with museum admission


Exposures: A window display and artist product series at The Warhol Store

The series title Exposures refers to artists given the chance to showcase their work in a broad, public arena—The Warhol Store and its street-facing windows. The Warhol Store gives exposure to artists—both local and international—selling limited edition works, and the museum showcases young, emerging artists in a way similar to how a young Andy Warhol launched his career.

Honoring Warhol’s early career as a window dresser in Pittsburgh at Horne’s Department Store and in New York City at Bonwit Teller, the window displays are designed by local masters of fine arts students or recent graduates. In the 1950s, window dressing had become a rite of passage for artists in New York City; painters Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns also designed props and displays for commercial stores. For his 1961 Bonwit Teller windows, Warhol used five of his paintings based on comics and advertisements—Superman, Little King, Saturday’s Popeye, Advertisement, and Before and After (1)—as backdrops for mannequins dressed in spring dresses.

Exposures 4: Travis K. Schwab: Lost and Found

For the fall Exposures installation, Travis K. Schwab focuses on Andy Warhol’s enduring place in our visual culture. Schwab—a self-taught painter who has spent the past five years building a body of work that takes issue with our image-saturated culture—takes inspiration for this project from Warhol’s investment in photography, which Warhol published in his 1978 book Exposures, and the forgotten photobooth strips that museum visitors leave behind.

For this installation, Schwab completed three new paintings, large portraits of Warhol, which hang in the center of each street-facing store window. Flanked by a variety of smaller canvases painted from the lost photobooth strips, the installation replicates the image-cluttered formats that have become the new normal of our visual culture. Accompanying the paintings in the window displays are books, such as The Diaries of Andy Warhol (1989) and The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to Be and Back Again) (1975), currently featured in the exhibition Warhol By the Book, on view through January 10, 2016.

Schwab, born in Wichita, Kansas, graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 2005. While drawing came easy to him at a young age, painting with oils was self-taught and is an ongoing experiment. With an aptness for color balance, it is surprising to note that he is colorblind. In his recent work, Schwab has focused on distorted details or fragments from the bountiful supply of photos circulating in the media. Inundated with stock photographs online, snapshots shared via social media, and a constant stream of advertisements on television, our relationship to images is in flux. Schwab plucks his images from this endless supply of photos and fragments found online and in the media. Cropped and painted with a blurred effect, his paintings take on a dreamlike haze that feels both foreign and yet familiar. Actors from movies and friends from social media are distorted and condensed, the cultural boundaries erased. Schwab’s first solo show Scratching the Itch (2015) was presented at Revision Space. Most recently, his work was included in Point Park University’s Screen Memories (2015).