Chuck Connelly

Andy Warhol Museum

Through January 24
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Move over 13 Most Beautiful, it’s time for 13 Most Wanted. And these guys are, quite literally, ready for their close-up.

You still have a few weeks left to experience two special exhibitions unveiled during the fall at The Andy Warhol Museum—each with its own historical significance—13 Most Wanted Men: Andy Warhol and the 1964 World’s Fair and Chuck Connelly: My America.

Marking the 50th anniversary of a Warhol scandal that unfolded during the 1964 World’s Fair, 13 Most Wanted Men explores the controversy surrounding work commissioned for the facade of the New York State Pavilion. Creating a bold mural proposal for the Fair’s pavilion site, Warhol eschewed the everyday objects of his Pop Art vocabulary and instead chose to enlarge mug shots of criminals. At the time, Warhol was in the early stage of his career and the World’s Fair commission presented a high profile opportunity for the artist. For the project, Warhol applied his contemporary sensibility to depicting a group of criminals wanted by the NYPD. Responding severely to what may seem like an innocent series of images to 21st-century eyes, Warhol’s mural proposal was at once provocative and progressive, both visually and culturally. Fearing scandal and recourse, officials painted over the ill-fated mural just days after it was installed, leaving only one large silver panel visible when the Fair opened to the public.

The engaging exhibition will give visitors a glimpse into this pivotal period in Warhol’s prolific career. Featured are paintings Warhol produced later that year, from the same screens he used to make the pavilion mural. Augmenting these works is a selection of archival documents and ephemera that tell the fascinating back-story of the mural’s creation and its mysterious demise. Along with exploring Warhol’s pioneering practice, 13 Most Wanted Men also examines issues of censorship and historical context. The compelling exhibition was developed collaboratively by The Warhol and the Queens Museum, which is located on the grounds of the New York World’s Fair, just 200 yards from where the artist’s storied mural briefly appeared.

Also on view in tandem with 13 Most Wanted Men is the first solo museum exhibition of contemporary expressionist painter Chuck Connelly. Representing The Warhol’s contribution to the 2014 Pittsburgh Biennial, Chuck Connelly: My America embodies the artist’s personal journey through the past four decades. Featured works are displayed in a progression that combines Connelly’s “grand art historical themes with contemporary social commentary.”

Born in Pittsburgh in 1955, Connelly graduated from Philadelphia’s Tyler School of Art in 1977. By the mid-1980s, he had emerged as a key figure within New York’s neo-expressionist painting scene. Known for his thickly layered brush strokes, lush canvases and bold palettes, Connelly’s subject matter spans everything from religious imagery, memory, cosmic visions and hidden narratives, to portraits, landscapes and familiar Victorian homes. Critics have compared Connelly’s work to masters such as Chaim Soutine (1893 – 1943) and Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890), while his grittier urban landscapes recall American realist painters such as George Bellows (1882 – 1925). This first solo museum show to focus on Connelly will provide visitors with a rare and comprehensive look at the resilient career of a prolific living painter who has been working for more than 40 years.

Go beyond the gallery to further explore the work of Warhol and Connelly at one of the museum’s public programs.

On December 12th, don’t miss a discussion with Nicholas Chambers, The Warhol’s Milton Fine Curator of Art, along with the influential poet John Giorno, who is the star of Andy Warhol’s 1963 film Sleep. The initiator of Dial-a-Poem (a poem recording project with writers that included Frank O’Hara and Patti Smith) in 1968, and the subject of an upcoming one-man exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Giorno has been a pivotal catalyst and connector for generations of New York visual artists, writers and performers.

Watch a behind-the-scenes video of assistant curator Jessica Beck talking with Chuck Connelly in his studio.

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.