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John Lamb, Published January 30 2013

Plains Art Museum hosting show on iconic pop artist Warhol

FARGO – The Plains Art Museum is one of Fargo-Moorhead’s most festive buildings, but on Saturday night it will be channeling some of New York’s most notorious spaces in the arts and culture scenes of the 1960s and ’70s.

The event is the opening reception for “Andy Warhol: Creating Myth and Icon” and the Plains is being as colorful and splashy as the late artist was with his work.

A big show means a big opening and curator Megan Johnston says the Plains will try to tap into the vibe of Warhol’s infamous haunts: his old studios and headquarters, known as “The Factory,” and Studio 54, the stylish nightclub of the late 1970s.

The third floor will be the site of the party with a DJ and a dance floor set up outside the gallery.

The evening includes unveiling a portrait of Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker by Fargo artist John Volk, one of three artists commissioned to react to the show and Warhol’s work.

Another, Heather Zinger, will deliver a performance art piece on the obsessive-compulsive behavior in Warhol’s inner circle

“You should expect the unexpected with this one,” Johnston says.

But the real show is Warhol’s art in the third and second-floor galleries.

While other area organizations (The Rourke Art Museum and North Dakota State University) have displayed their Warhols, with more than 30 prints, most from Georgia collectors Wesley and Missy Cochran, this is the first solo Warhol exhibit in Fargo.

“It’s a huge deal… it’s more than a blockbuster,” says curator Megan Johnston. “We’ve really stretched every part of this organization for this project and not just because it’s a big name, but we’ve gone above and beyond to make it engaging to the public.”

Johnston worked with the sponsor Sundog to lay out the show, which also includes interactive elements allowing people to Warhol-ize an image of themselves, make their own colored pencil screen print and children’s art gallery, so kids can display their own colorful works by Warhol’s.

“Art is for everybody,” Johnston says. “Warhol believed everyone was creative, so we’re going to show kids art with Warhol.”

The night starts at 5 p.m. with a $50-a-plate dinner with collectors Wesley and Missy Cochran. The soiree was so in-demand, the seats had to be expanded from 45 to 60, all of which have sold out.

Johnston says Warhol’s works are already generating a buzz and this show is setting up to be as popular for the Plains as those by glass master Dale Chihuly and realistic sculptor Duane Hanson in terms of popularity

“The intention of the show is to get people to really look again at Warhol and try and understand more deeply what he was trying to do,” she says. “I think people will really be surprised at how deep he was.”

If you go

What: “Andy Warhol: Creating Myth and Icon” reception

When: 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday

Where: Plains Art Museum, 704 1st Ave. N., Fargo

Info: Free for members, $10 for non-members. (701) 232-3821


Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533