showcases artworks by 14 contemporary artists developed during residencies and collaborations with Pittsburgh-based factories. Travelling to Pittsburgh from Germany, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Mexico and multiple cities in the United States, the artists worked closely with management teams and workers to plan and execute new works exploring the factories’ histories, technologies, materials, and processes.
The idea for Factory Direct: Pittsburgh first arose in Troy, New York when artist Michael Oatman was looking for a novel way to bring contemporary artists to that historic city in an effort to examine its own industrial past. After this first successful foray, the next Factory Direct: Pittsburgh project took place in New Haven, Connecticut in 2005 at the nonprofit Art Space on a larger scale. Now, The Warhol builds on this tradition with a large-scale exhibition that initiates new dialogues between the fields of art and industry.
When Andy Warhol’s father, Andrej Warhola, arrived in Pittsburgh in 1912 from his native village in Slovakia, he found work in an unprecedented empire of ironworks, steelmaking, and manufacturing companies. From Andrew Carnegie’s Carnegie Steel Company to H. J. Heinz’s world-famous ketchup,
the city was the home-base for many of the major industrial giants of America. Thanks to the region’s innovation and industry, Pittsburgh was one of the wealthiest cities in the world at the beginning of the 20th-century, and many leading cultural institutions and civic organizations, including The Warhol, continue to be the beneficiaries of the trusts and foundations that Pittsburgh’s industrialists left behind.
In this second decade of the 21st-century, modern-day Pittsburgh’s industry ranges from major robotics institutes and health care systems to cutting-edge technology facilities and green building initiatives. Also present are a number of small to medium-sized family-owned businesses with light manufacturing facilities. The exhibition also celebrates the region’s work force and their commitment to industry and innovation. Pittsburgh’s strong work ethic has been the foundation for the many industrial milestones achieved here, and it continues to fuel the city’s drive forward in new technologies and innovations.
Factory Direct: Pittsburgh is curated by The Warhol’s Director, Eric C. Shiner with the assistance of artist, Natalie Settles. Curatorial assistant Jen Melvin.
© 2012 The Andy Warhol Museum