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PittsburghQ&A with Bartholomew Ryan, The Warhol’s new Milton Fine Curator of Art

Bartholomew Ryan is The Warhol’s new Milton Fine Curator of Art. He was previously an assistant curator at Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN, where he began as a curatorial fellow. Ryan studied at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and before studied drama and theatre at Trinity College Dublin, where he is from originally.

We asked Ryan a few questions as he settles into his new role and home in Pittsburgh.

Q: Pittsburgh is a city of neighborhoods. Which did you choose to make your home? Why?

A: I moved to Downtown just last week. My partner and I like being in a diverse environment with a lot of things going on, and I prefer not to use a car when possible. I can walk to work, which is nice, there’s a local YMCA nearby and a lot of busses and such. I enjoyed visiting various neighborhoods while looking; I got a crash course on Pittsburgh in the past few weeks!

Q: What are you most excited to explore in Pittsburgh?

A: I think it’s a very beautiful city. I’m excited to walk over the Andy Warhol Bridge every day and watch the seasons change. I have met a lot of people who are very passionate about this city. I like that, and I’m sure it will all become clear eventually. I need to find the good pool-playing bars, and I’m looking forward to visiting the other Carnegie museums. Really, I’m just excited to make new friends, be a good colleague, and do some decent work.

Q: What artist do you most admire? You can’t say Warhol…

A: I guess one way to figure that out would be to look at the projects I’ve done. For instance, I greatly admire each artist in the 9 Artists exhibition I curated a few years ago. But, I admire so many; artists amaze me daily.

Q: With which object in The Warhol’s collection are you most excited to work?

A: I don’t think I can answer that yet, but many of the drawings and films have this very particular ability to explore intimacy in a vulnerable and surprising way that I keep coming back to. I think the most interesting part of Warhol’s legacy resides somewhere in the idea of intimacy.

Q: If a catastrophic event befell the museum, which artwork would you save?

A: Probably a drawing…that would be a beautiful story, no? Something small and symbolic that no wealthy collector is interested in, but that makes those who love Warhol raise their eyebrow and smile and say ‘hmmm.’ But, you know, the correct answer is that I guess it will come down to the circumstances and what the procedures are.

Q: What are you reading right now?

A: Douglas Crimp’s Getting the Warhol We Deserve.

Q: What can you not live without?

A: Love, food, water, shelter. Not necessarily in that order.

Q: You’re from Dublin. What do you miss the most from home?

A: My family and friends. Laughing and arguing.

Q: Are you an artist?

A: I think I approach the world a little bit like an artist might.

Q: We have two camps in the museum…cats or dogs?

A: Bunnies. No competition.

Check back soon to read about Ryan’s curatorial vision for The Warhol and where he sees the museum’s direction heading in the coming years.