A Warhol Welcoming: 46 Years Later


A Warhol Welcoming: 46 Years Later

“It was incredible to think of it happening at an art opening. Even a Pop Art opening. But then, we weren’t just at the art exhibit—we were the art exhibit, we were the art incarnate.”
— Andy Warhol


Andy Warhol is arguably one of the most recognizable names in the art domain. He fundamentally transformed the contemporary art world with his edgy films and “Pop” pieces. Warhol served as the inspiration for many media figures today (Lady Gaga bases her career and entire image around him) and we at The Walk are obsessed with him. What better way to bask in the glamour of Warhol than to head over to the Institute of Contemporary Art (right on campus/next to Urban Outfitters) and admire a brand new exhibit on display?

Many are surprised to hear that Warhol’s first solo museum show took place right on Penn’s campus. The exhibit was actually in the Fisher Fine Arts Library in 1965 (the Institute of Contemporary Art has moved since.). On opening night (October 8th, 1965), Penn students welcomed Warhol and his muse, Edie Sedgwick, like celebrities with chanting and popping flashbulbs. The event resulted in so much chaos and pandemonium that Warhol, Sedgwick, and his entire entourage were escorted up the staircase (the one behind the check-in desk in Fisher), and led through a hole in the ceiling, which a grad student tore into in the heat of the moment. The current exhibit at the ICA titled Thats How We Escaped: Reflections on Warhol showcases never before seen details from the 1965 retrospective and illuminates Warhol’s rise to superstardom in light of the event.

What’s even cooler? Penn undergraduates put the exhibit together, more specifically 11 freshmen in the Spiegel Contemporary Art Freshman Seminar. By contacting Penn alumni or relevant figures and extensively researching the event, the small class collected 24 objects including rare images, historic documents, and artifacts to put on display. The class also collaborated with artist Alex Da Corte to create a piece that reflects the staircase, a symbol of the evening in 1965. The exhibit will be on view in the museum’s project space through August 7, 2011. Do not leave for the summer without checking it out!

All photos courtesy of  The Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania

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