Roving Eye: Lost Shermans, Lost Flowers


On Sunday I flew to New York to meet with artist Deborah Kass, so that we could make the final selection of works to be included in her mid-career retrospective that will launch at the Warhol next spring. The show will include a full range of Kass’s paintings, including works from the series “Art History,” in which she combines art historical imagery with stills from Disney cartoons, and “The Warhol Project,” in which she extended the earlier artist’s formal vocabulary to icons who didn’t get the Warhol treatment. It will also present drawings, source materials and ephemera. While digging through a box of Polaroids used for “The Warhol Project,” we found some incredible images of Cindy Sherman vamping as Liza Minnelli.

While in the city, I went to visit Rob Pruitt’s new monument to Andy Warhol in Union Square. I was pleased to see passersby engaged with the sculpture, snapping photos of friends with the glistening silver Andy. Some people spoke to the statue, and a few even placed soup cans and other Warholian objects at Andy’s feet.

On Wednesday I flew to Mexico City to attend the MACO art fair, meet with a museum about organizing a potential Warhol retrospective and attend the opening of Carlos Slim’s brand new Soumaya Museum. In addition to the amazing (and long) lunches I enjoyed, I visited the astounding Jumex Collection. I fell in love with the city’s tree-lined streets and abundant modernist architecture—not to mention an art scene that is fully energized.

On Thursday I had a productive meeting with Mexico City-based artist Edgar Orlaineta, who will take part in my “Factory Direct: Pittsburgh” show next year at the Warhol. He and 14 other international artists will travel to Pittsburgh and conduct two-week- to two-month-long residencies in a local active factory. They will then make a new work of art based on the materials, processes or history of their host company.

Edgar has elected to work with ALCOA, and he has already set about re-creating a flower sculpture, called the Solar Do-Nothing Machine, which the aluminum producer commissioned Charles and Ray Eames to create in the 1950s. As the original has been lost, Edgar has been tracking down images and is remaking it piece by piece from recycled aluminum. When he comes to Pittsburgh this summer, he will dig deep into the company’s archives to try to figure out what happened to the sculpture. If we’re lucky, he’ll find it.

Eric C. Shiner is the Acting Director & Milton Fine Curator of Art at the The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Photos by Eric Shiner.