The Andy Monument
The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston is pleased to present The Andy Monument, October 2012 – April 2013, on the Museum’s front lawn at the corner of Bissonnet and Montrose in the heart of the Houston Museum District. Inspired by Andy Warhol’s art and life, New York-based artist Rob Pruitt created the seven-foot tall sculpture as a tribute to the late Pop artist. The ribbon cutting ceremony formally welcoming The Andy Monument to Houston will take place on Saturday, October 20, 6-8PM, with special guest Lynn Wyatt performing the honors.
“We are thrilled to bring Rob Pruitt’s Andy Monument to Houston. This piece graced the spot outside of the old Warhol Factory in Union Square in NY, and it was so popular with area residents that its tenure there was extended twice. It is a piece that makes people first curious and then happy. Even as a young teenager I found in the persona of Andy Warhol license to be the person I wanted to be, and I think that experience is common for many people who learned to love art via Warhol. They will now have a suitable pilgrimage site in Houston,” says Director Bill Arning.
Pruitt’s sculpture adapts and transforms the familiar tradition of classical statuary. The figure is based on a combination of digital scanning of a live model and hand sculpting, its surface finished in chrome, mounted atop a concrete pedestal. Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was an American artist and is considered the quintessential Pop artist, celebrating fame, wealth, and glamour and in so doing changing the course of both popular culture and art history—inspiring most artists who have risen to fame in the past 30 years in significant ways. In his larger than life persona Warhol remains one of New York's enduring icons. Today his iconic images of the Campbell Soup can, Elvis, or Warhol are so ubiquitous to appear safe but it’s not hard to remember how strange and downright dangerous these were when they were first hung in museums. Pruitt’s sculpture depicts Warhol as a ghostly, silver presence: a potent cultural force as both artist and self-created myth.
Warhol spent some time in Houston in the 1960s and ’70s when John and Dominique de Menil brought him to town replete with his superstars in tow. He became a confidant of the de Menils and found a number of portrait commissions here, including Mrs. de Menil, Caroline Wiess Law, and Lynn Wyatt. In Houston, people can view works by Warhol at both The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and The Menil Collection, which has major holdings of his work, including iconic paintings such as Lavender Disaster (1973) (from the Electric Chair series, currently on view) and of the Campbell’s Soup can.
The Andy Monument was organized by Public Art Fund and was originally on view in Union Square, New York, March 30, 2011 – September 4, 2012; the exhibition was curated by Nicholas Baume, Director and Chief Curator of the Public Art Fund. “Inspired by Warhol and his story, Rob moved to New York as a young man and even met Warhol when he visited the ‘Factory’ to interview for a job. Rob’s memory of the artist that day formed the vision for this sculpture, and I think that personal connection will resonate with many who come to visit, just as it does with me,” said Baume.
CAMH was able to raise part of the funds necessary to bring the sculpture to Houston through online crowd-funding campaign launched on indiegogo.com, which received both local and national press.
ABOUT ROB PRUITT
Rob Pruitt’s work is rooted in a pop sensibility and a playful critique of art world structures. His conceptual projects have included performance-based artworks like his recent Art Awards that were presented at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (2009 and 2010) and modeled after Hollywood awards ceremonies, as well as simple gestures that promote possibilities for creativity in everyday life, as demonstrated in the series 101 Art Ideas You Can Do Yourself (2001). His work is always characterized by an incisive humor and exuberant visual flair. Pruitt lives and works in New York City.