Silvery Monument to Warhol Unveiled in Union Square

Andy Warhol Rob Pruitt
Photo by Shantala DuGay

Artist Rob Pruitt’s The Andy Monument was unveiled, March 30 and will remain in New York’s Union Square through October 2, 2011. The monument to Andy Warhol, the father of Pop Art and one of New York’s enduring cultural icons, is installed just outside the building that housed Warhol’s “Factory” for more than ten years in the 1970s and early 1980s, and just down the street from an earlier “Factory” site.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with Rob, whose work has exactly the spirit of generosity and engagement that lends itself so well to public art,” said Nicholas Baume, Public Art Fund Director and Chief Curator. “Inspired by Warhol and his story, Rob moved to New York as a young man and even met Warhol when he visited the ‘Factory’ to interview for a job. Rob’s memory of the artist that day formed the vision for this sculpture, and I think that personal connection will resonate with many who come to visit, just as it does with me.”

Pruitt envisions the monument as a pilgrimage site that embodies the spirit of Warhol and the Downtown cultural movement. “Every day a thousand more kids come to New York propelled by his legacy. And even if the decades pass and Warhol’s legacy becomes further distant, there is a direct link to him—this pilgrimage, coming here to make it big, to be an artist,” said Pruitt. “Like Oscar Wilde’s grave at Père Lachaise, there should be a destination in New York to mark that journey. I think something needs to be in the streets of New York, something you could visit at 4:30 in the morning.”

Adapting the visual language of formal statuary, like the nearby monuments to Gandhi, Lincoln, and Washington, the seven-foot-tall figure stands atop a concrete pedestal, its chromed surface reflecting the surrounding neighborhood where Warhol worked for much of his life: Max’s Kansas City—a favorite Warhol hangout—once stood nearby, Interview magazine was launched in the neighborhood, and Valerie Solanas attempted her assassination of Warhol there.

“Andy Warhol spent much of his time here in Union Square and so it is fitting that Rob Pruitt’s The Andy Monument is our first public art installation to grace the new pedestrian plazas at the corner of Broadway and 17th Street,” said Union Square Partnership Executive DirectorJennifer Falk. “With the recent completion of Union Square Park’s north end, Union Square is a must-see destination this summer and we look forward to welcoming visitors from near and far when they come to create their own unique experience here.”

Public Art Fund is New York’s leading presenter of artists’ projects, new commissions, installations, and exhibitions in public spaces.

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