Warhol monument is moving to Texas

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The silvery "Andy Monument," a chrome-plated statue of artist Andy Warhol that shined for more than a year in New York's Union Square, is bound for Texas.

The Public Art Fund's NYC projects are always temporary, and the statue's materials can be subjected to the outdoors for only so long. There is spot work being done for "The Andy" before it moves to the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston, where it will be unveiled Oct. 20 and stay for six months.

The statue was removed Sept. 4 from its spot on Broadway and 17th Street alongside Andy Warhol's Factory studio, where the native Pittsburgher was known to hand out signed copies of his Interview magazine.

"We want him to enliven the scene as Andy always did," Bill Arning, director of the Houston museum, said of putting him at the relatively busy intersection of Bissonnet and Montrose.

"I've had a couple of close friends calling me very angry that he was leaving," said Mr. Arning, a native New Yorker who attended high school within blocks of The Factory. "I know there is talk of hopefully commissioning a permanent Andy monument."

Kellie Honeycutt, a spokeswoman for the Public Art Fund, said artist Rob Pruitt and the City of New York would have to come to an agreement for a permanent tribute on the site.

She noted the popularity of the statue among visitors and residents of the neighborhood.

"It's been really fantastic the response, the gifts left there -- soup cans, balloons. We've had letters to Andy mailed to us. I'm sure people would be interested in it staying."

The Pruitt-designed work was erected in March of last year and has had several reprieves along the way. It was first scheduled to stand at its spot in a pedestrian island, outside of what is now a Petco store, until early October.

The silver statue, mounted on a concrete block, shows the artist holding a Bloomingdale's shopping bag and stands on a concrete pedestal that declares "The Andy Monument" in block letters. Mr. Pruitt has said he dressed the King of Pop Art as he imagined him in 1977, wearing Levi's jeans, a Brooks Brothers blazer and a neatly knotted tie, with a Polaroid camera dangling from his neck.

"I would love to see Andy in every city where he was in life, which is pretty much everywhere," Mr. Arning said. "I love the idea, because public art is so prone to being controversial, that a piece like this, even if you weren't quite sure who Andy Warhol was, it makes you feel good."

"The Andy Monument" leaves the city just as New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art opens "Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years." Forty-five works by Mr. Warhol -- 19 borrowed from Pittsburgh's Andy Warhol Museum -- will be displayed with works by other artists to illustrate his continuing influence. The exhibition runs through Dec. 31, then comes to Pittsburgh Feb. 2 through April 28, 2013.



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