Since becoming the Director of The Andy Warhol Museum in 2017, I have had the pleasure of being involved in an extraordinary process with my colleagues and the board to decide how an institution dedicated to the life and art of Andy Warhol can continue to be relevant in a world that seems more challenging and complex every day. At the end of many discussions, we were reassured to find that Warhol, through his art and his personal story, inspired all of us more than ever, even though he meant something very different to each one of us. Andy Warhol’s legacy is so rich and fascinating that we think there is something in it that nearly anyone can connect to. It was in this spirit that we came upon our new tag line for the museum, “Warhol for All,” and our new mission, “to engage and inspire through Warhol’s life, art, and legacy.”
As you might imagine, “Warhol for All” also indicates that The Warhol has a deep commitment to the principles of inclusion, diversity and equity; not surprising for a museum dedicated to an openly gay artist who came from a poor immigrant family. But these deeply held beliefs can ring hollow without a personal connection and commitment; so each of us who work at The Warhol or serve on its board find a different aspect of the museum’s work that touches us and relates to our own history.
For me, that connection came alive most vividly when my husband and I arrived to volunteer at the LGBTQ+ Prom that The Warhol’s education department hosts for area teens every year, providing a safe space for them to celebrate their high school experience fully as who they are. Joaquin and I parked our car to find that several hundred young people, of every shape, size and gender, were lined up outside The Warhol in all their finery just waiting to love one another and themselves. Later that night, I was able to be the old guy who told them that no such event had existed for me in Iowa and certainly not for Andy Warhol when he lived in Pittsburgh but that Andy’s life had made it possible for them.
That’s what “Warhol for All” means for me. I invite you to visit The Andy Warhol Museum, experience Andy’s work, be inspired by our temporary exhibitions, join us for performances, make art in our studio, and see what “Warhol for All” might mean for you.
See you soon,
The Andy Warhol Museum