1_Leonard_Kessler_Warhol_Cantor_and_Pearlstein
Photo by Leonard Kessler. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

The Andy Warhol Museum

Through September 6
Various times

This summer, Pitsburghers will get a fresh new look at Andy Warhol’s earliest days as a local artist and art student.

Andy Warhol, Girl in Park (Phipps), 1948, Collection of Paul Warhola Family.

How much do we know about the King of Pop’s artistic circle of friends and colleagues during his earliest days in Pittsburgh? Thanks to a new exhibition opening this weekend at The Andy Warhol Museum, audiences can learn more about the work and training of the highly influential artist and his time here, along with his friends who are also significant art figures.

Exploring the work of Philip Pearlstein, Andy Warhol and Dorothy Cantor during their pivotal experiences as students at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon), and as aspiring young artists in NYC, Pearlstein, Warhol, Cantor: From Pittsburgh to New York is on view at the Northside museum from May 29th through September 6th.

Dorothy Cantor, Untitled (FDR Drive), ca. 1951–52.

Co-curated by Jessica Beck and Matt Wrbican, Pearlstein, Warhol, Cantor: From Pittsburgh to New York is the first exhibition to examine this important early period for the three artists. Visitors will see the artists’ early assignments in commercial illustration and graphic design, and will discover how they navigated their way through the competitive art world during the 1940s and 1950s.

With Pittsburgh as its starting point, the exhibition features rarely seen paintings and drawings completed for classes taught by Carnegie Tech professor Robert Lepper. Works include images of Pittsburgh cultural landmarks, dinosaur fossils at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, interiors of Carnegie Music Hall, the old Duquesne Gardens arena and more.

Philip Pearlstein, Merry-Go-Round, 1939–40, courtesy Betty Cuningham Gallery.

Featuring 175 works, the informative collection also explores the period when Warhol and Pearlstein were fellow students and roommates in NYC, including Pearlstein’s time in the military and work as a graphic designer, Warhol’s early success as a commercial illustrator and Cantor’s struggles within the male dominated art world, her marriage to Pearlstein in 1950 and her eventual decision to abandon her practice and start a family.

Visitors will also be the first to see never-before-exhibited new paintings by Pearlstein that depict nude models wearing antique animal masks.

Also featured are supplementary archival materials and period photographs and Cantor’s paintings and drawings of NYC bridges, highways and subway stations.

Be sure to check out the museum’s full calendar of public programs offering during the run of the exhibition.

Jennifer Baron

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...