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The Birmingham Museum of Art opens first exhibition to examine Warhol's fascination with automotive vehicles
Andy Warhol, Car, 1950s.

BIRMINGHAM, ALA.- The Birmingham Museum of Art brings the Birmingham community a distinctive exhibition of works by Andy Warhol. Warhol and Cars: American Icons, on display from June 24 – September 16, is the first exhibition to examine Warhol’s enduring fascination with automotive vehicles as products of American consumer society.

“Warhol was fascinated with American culture and his images represented what he felt were elemental to our culture whether they were Hollywood icons, Campbell's soup cans, or Chryslers coming off the Detroit assembly line,” said Ron Platt, Curator of Modern and Contemporary art at the Birmingham Museum of Art. “He loved to extol what America was famous for-its products and its thriving industries.”

The exhibition features more than 40 drawings, paintings, photographs, and related archival material spanning from 1946 to 1986. As one of the most iconic and influential artists of the 20th century, Andy Warhol has helped to define America. His signature images of such American products and celebrities as Campbell’s soup cans, Coca-Cola bottles, Marilyn Monroe, and Elizabeth Taylor have become instantly recognizable.

"PNC believes in the power of culturally engaging programs to strengthen our communities,” said Jim Hansen, regional president, PNC Bank, Northern Alabama. “We are excited that our relationship with the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh helped to bring this unique exhibition to Birmingham. This not only compliments the Museum's permanent collection of contemporary art, but supports the cultural vitality of this region."

The exhibition, organized by the Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey, traces the development of Warhol’s work with cars throughout his career. Warhol and Cars highlights include early line drawings and 1950s commercial work, paintings, and works on paper from the 1960s through the 1980s that present his signature silkscreen process.

Also included in the exhibition is a 1979 film of Andy Warhol painting and discussing a BMW M1 as part of the BMW Art Race Car Projects introduced by French racer Herve Poulin. The majority of the work in the exhibition is from The Andy Warhol Museum’s collection.

Gail Andrews, The R. Hugh Daniel Director of the Birmingham Museum of Art notes the specific ties of Warhol to Birmingham. “Andy Warhol has a special place in Birmingham and at the Museum. In 1979, he visited the Birmingham Museum of Art to unveil his smashing portrait of our former board chair Charles Ireland. He was also the subject of a focused exhibition here in 2010, in which visitors had the opportunity to learn a great deal about Warhol's practice in producing his iconic and instantly recognizable portraits. We are really thrilled to partner with PNC and The Andy Warhol Museum to now present Warhol and Cars, a truly distinctive show that provides our visitors additional and new insight into Warhol's work, influence and fascination with the automobile” she says.

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