Explore life, art of Andy Warhol at COD

Multifaceted exhibit offers variety of ways to learn more about cutting-edge artist

Even if you've been to the McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage, you've never really been to the McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage.

Once a sparsely but tastefully decorated expanse of space, the building's entire first floor, and part of the second floor, have been transformed into a showcase of all things Andy Warhol.

WARHOL, which opened to the public June 3 and will remain open through Sept. 10, is the largest art installation yet for College of DuPage and its Cleve Carney Museum of Art (see Page 18 for ticket info). It includes 94 works from Bank of America's "Andy Warhol Portfolios: A Life in Pop" collection and more than 150 original photos and prints from COD's permanent collection. The exhibit also includes dozens of covers of Interview magazine, which feature Warhol's portraits of celebrities such as Nancy Reagan, Robin Williams, Stevie Wonder and Cybill Shepherd, among many others.

"It's such a vibrant, fun, relatable collection," said Diana Martinez, executive director of the MAC.

From the iconic soup can to more obscure works, Warhol's art blankets the 11,000-square-foot exhibit space. But the prints and photos are just the beginning.

"There are opportunities that engage all different senses," Martinez said.

More than two years in the making, WARHOL includes a walk through the artist's life and career, including his roles as filmmaker, photographer, painter, commercial artist, music producer, writer and fashion model. Visitors will see some of his earliest advertising projects for companies like Tiffany & Co., Seventeen magazine and Miss Dior. They'll also learn about the role the iconic soup can played not only in Warhol's career, but in his early life.

The MAC's Playhouse Theater has been transformed into a replica of the famous Studio 54, the New York nightclub frequented by Warhol and many A-list celebrities of the late 1970s. Complete with neon lights and music of the era, the "club" is occupied by mannequins dressed in carefully created replicas of actual outfits worn by stars like Cher, John Travolta, and of course, Warhol himself.

An experience for all ages, Warhol includes the Kid's Pop Art Print Factory, where the youngest visitors can create their own art and express their own creativity.

Curator Justin Witte said COD's own technical and creative teams designed the entire experience, including Studio 54, the children's area and Central Park, the outdoor area just behind the building itself. Guests are invited to grab a snack or beverage at the cafe and enjoy it on the New York-inspired patio, which is dotted with seating areas and sits under a full city skyline.

Central Park is just the beginning of Warhol's reach beyond the walls of the MAC. Communities throughout DuPage County are holding Warhol-themed events throughout the summer. Nineteen communities participated in the DuPage Warhol Public Pop Art Project, which challenged cities and villages to capture their most iconic residents in Warhol-style portraits. The portraits, which include celebrities like actors Sean Hayes, Bob Odenkirk, Jim and John Belushi and Chicago Meteorologist Tom Skilling, are on display just outside the WARHOL cafe.

Visitors to Naperville will find disco-themed decor in the city's downtown this summer and Wheaton's fire hydrants are painted in a Warhol theme. Barrels decorated as Warhol soup cans can be found throughout several DuPage towns. Guest lectures, concerts and other Warhol-themed events are planned in several communities (see sidebar).

"Some towns have gone crazy," said Martinez, reiterating that WARHOL is so much more than art hanging on a wall.

When the exhibit closes on Sept. 10, it's gone forever, Martinez said.

"It doesn't go somewhere else," she said. "This is your chance."

Wild for Warhol

It's a WARHOL summer throughout DuPage County, with these special themed events.

Lectures are held in the MAC's Belushi Performance Hall unless otherwise noted. Tickets are $10 or free with a ticket to the exhibition. Reservations are required.

• Concert: Pride Anthems

Admission is free with a donation to the Glen Ellyn food pantry. Follow the history of the fight for LGBTQ+ equality through song. Bring a chair or blanket for seating. 6 p.m. Saturday, June 24, at C.O.D.'s Lakeside Pavilion

• Lecture: Eric Shiner, former director of The Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh

Shiner will offer insight into who Andy Warhol really was. 7 p.m. Thursday, July 27

• Concert: New Philharmonic

This outdoor concert includes the Chicago area premiere of "Passacaglia in Primary Colors" from Fifteen: Symphonic Fantasy on the Art of Andy Warhol (2021). Admission is free with a donation to the Glen Ellyn food bank. Bring a chair or blanket for seating. 6 p.m. Sunday, July 30, at COD's Lakeside Pavilion

• Lecture: Justin Witte of C.O.D.'s Cleve Carney Museum of Art

This free lecture will explore how Warhol's experience as an outsider propelled him to fame. Journey through the artist's works, from his early career to his final contributions to American art with the curator who made the C.O.D. exhibit possible.

7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3

• Special event: Andy Warhol's 95th Disco Birthday Bash

Celebrate the 95th anniversary of Warhol's birth with music, dancing, printmaking, projects for kids, an ice cream vendor and more. The party takes place in the outdoor Central Park portion of Warhol. Free with ticket purchase. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6

• Lecture: Joseph Freeman, former assistant to Warhol

Freeman will share his firsthand accounts of working in Warhol's Silver Factory and who the artist really was. 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6

• Lecture: Jessica Beck, former curator of the Warhol Museum

Learn about the many collaborations and friendship between Warhol and artist Basquiat. 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10

• Lecture: Julia diLiberti, C.O.D. Humanities faculty

Explore the role of the soup can in Warhol's life and career at "Soup Can Can't: Warhol and the Unraveling of Art." 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 17

• Lecture: Brian Brems and Trina Sotirakopulos, C.O.D. film and creative writing faculty

Peer into the life of Valerie Solanas, the woman who shot and nearly killed Warhol. 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24

• Lecture: Thomas Kiedrowski, author of "Andy Warhol's New York City"

Participate in a lively discussion of the Big Apple and how the city influenced Warhol's life and career. 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31

• Lecture: David Ouellette, C.O.D. associate professor of art history

Examine Warhol's lifelong love of animals and the 10 endangered species featured in his Endangered Species portfolio (1983). 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7

• Family event: Meet-and-Greet with Mike Venezia, children's author and illustrator

The author and illustrator of more than 150 books, Venezia will greet visitors, sign autographs and show children how to make Warhol-style art. Free with exhibit admission. 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9

Author Bio

Sandy Illian Bosch is a contributing writer to The Hinsdalean