When thinking about one of a kind artists, Andy Warhol pops to the top of my list.
Artist Adam Milner dug through the Pop Art icon’s personal possessions to create an unexpectedly moving show at the Andy Warhol Museum.
“I wanted to excavate the archives in search of a body,” says Milner, who started the project back in May. The Pittsburgh-based artist, whose work examines the boundary between the intimate and the detached, has installed fragments of Warhol’s personal archives mixed with his own. Fingernails, photographs of feet, wigs, and fake eyelash from a drag queen are amongst the unusual items thoughtfully placed in two large museum vitrines, oddly resembling archaeological remains. There are no indications to help visitors identify which objects are Warhol’s and which are Milner’s, leaving the ghostly installation open to speculation. “It’s an experience of mystery and discovery,” affirms Milner.
Mind you, rummaging through 8,000 cubic feet of personal archives is no easy task. “It’s very disorganized,” says Milner, “I was interested in the messiness and subjectivity of it.” Before he died, Warhol wrote in his will that his entire estate should be used for the creation of a foundation dedicated to “the advancement of the visual arts.” Artworks, clothes, furniture, and a collection of 175 cookie jars were auctioned by Sotheby’s in 1988, generating more than $25 million. Another half a million items, including unsold objects, documents, and personal belongings, were donated to the museum. “I would work with the archivist and ask her, ‘Do you know if he had any human teeth’?” recounts Milner amused, “One day she asked me, ‘Did you know he had a mummified foot?’ I was like, ‘What?!'”
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