Current and Coming features detailed information about current and forthcoming programs, events, exhibits and activities of historical and cultural institutions in Pennsylvania. Originated as “Currents.” Retitled “Current and Coming,” Winter 2003, and then retitled “Out and About,” Fall 2005. Revived as “Current and Coming,” Winter 2013. Ran regularly, Spring 1984 to Spring 2008, and then occasionally, Winter 2013 to Spring 2015.

Wholly Warhol!

Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was as well known for his commentary about contem­porary society (“In the future, everyone will be world famous for fifteen min­utes.”) as for his illustrations, art, writing, films, design, and publishing. Few, how­ever, realized the extent of his insatiable appetite for collecting until the auction house of Sotheby’s in New York auc­tioned his accumulations in a sensational series of sales in late April and early May 1988. “Buying is much more American than thinking,” Warhol remarked, “and I’m as American as they come.”

Warhol began to collect seriously in the mid-1950s, and continued to do so until his death at the age of fifty-nine. By the early 1970s, collecting had become an ob­session with Warhol, and he devoted a part of nearly every day to making the rounds of Manhattan flea markets, an­tique shops, jewelry stores, and auction houses. Although his collection of cookie jars and other collectibles drew the great­est media attention – one lot of four pottery cookie jars estimated to bring be­tween one hundred and two hundred dollars fetched nearly nine thousand dol­lars – his collection also contained important examples of Federal-era furni­ture, art deco furnishings and silver, and twentieth-century works of art. “He was chronically, almost neurotically, acquisi­tive and he possessed a knack for pursuing offbeat material before it be­came widely popular,” remembered David Bourdon, a friend whose 1989 biog­raphy, Warhol, was excerpted as a preface to the sales catalogues.

To examine objects acquired by the artist, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pitts­burgh, Warhol’s birthplace, will present Possession Obsession: Objects from Andy Warhol’s Personal Collection from Saturday, March 2, through Sunday, May 19, 2002. The exhibition is a rare opportunity to view three hundred objects from his per­sonal collection sold at the legendary Sotheby’s sale that have been reunited to probe one of the least-studied aspects of his oeuvre: the art of collecting. Possession Obsession will focus on areas where Warhol maintained a deep, abiding inter­est, such as nineteenth-century American folk art and furniture, cookie jars, Native American art and artifacts, and fine and costume jewelry.

Sotheby’s auction prompted interna­tional coverage of Warhol’s diverse and exhaustive collections, but they since been given little serious critical attention, let alone extensive scholarship. By pre­senting a focused, carefully selected group of objects from Warhol’s collection, this exhibition will demonstrate that collecting was not merely a leisurely pursuit, but in fact represented a vital form of artistic practice. Through collecting, Warhol found another forum to explore his ideas about history, nostalgia, popular culture, and consumerism, themes that are central to other areas of his work. “When you think about it,” he once commented, “de­partment stores are kind of like museums.”

One of the earliest objects featured in Possession Obsession: Objects from Andy Warhol’s Personal Collection, and drawn from the holdings of the Warhol Museum, is a scrapbook of autographed movie star photographs that he assembled as a child. This marks the beginning of a passion that would stay with him throughout his life. By re-examining what Warhol collected and how he assembled his collection, mu­seumgoers will be given an unusual look at his personality and genius. Museum curators believe the exhibition will convey not only the seriousness with which Warhol approached collecting, but also the pleasure he found in searching out new and undiscovered categories of objects to collect. In his own words, Warhol “was al­ways looking for the five-dollar object that’s really worth millions.”

An illustrated book published by the Andy Warhol Museun will accompany the exhibit.

To learn more about the exhibit, write: Andy Warhol Museum, 117 Sandusky St., Pittsburgh, PA 15212-5890; telephone (412) 237-8300; e-mail; or visit Andy Warhol Museum website. There is an admission fee.


Shooting Star

For more than forty years, Charles “Teenie” Harris (1908-1998), prolific pho­tojournalist and portrait photographer, chronicled Pittsburgh’s African American community, producing images which graphically conveyed the twentieth-cen­tury black experience to a national audience. Whether backstage with enter­tainers Dizzy Gillespie or Lena Home, in the dugout with baseball greats Josh Gib­son or Satchel Paige, or with children on the streets of the Hill District or Home­wood-Brushton, Harris documented black Pittsburgh with his photographs.

Born in Pittsburgh, Harris worked both as a freelancer and, notably, for the Pitts­burgh Courier, a black weekly newspaper of national note. He was nicknamed “One Shot” by Mayor David L. Lawrence (1889-1966) because of his practice of snapping only one shot of each subject (see “David L. Lawrence: The Deft Hand Behind Pitts­burgh’s – and Pennsylvania’s – Politics” by Richard Robbins, Fall 2001). Harris was principal photographer for the Pitts­burgh Courier from 1931 until his retirement in 1975.

In addition to capturing luminaries of his day, Harris also photographed domes­tics, porters, waitresses, teamsters, and mill workers and their families. His im­ages of these subjects are as revealing as his portrayals of celebrities, among them presidents and politicians. He produced quality images for his portrait work, but his “street” photography and images made for the Courier were considered ephemera. As a newspaper photographer, Harris traveled the alleys, workplaces, nightclubs, and ballparks of his native city with a Speed Graphic black and white camera in hand. His images create a his­torically and sociologically accurate record of Pittsburgh and its African Amer­ican history over the course of more than four decades. Politics, sports, entertain­ment, church, home, and community figure prominently in his images of the city.

Opening Monday, January 21, 2002, at the Samek Art Gallery of Bucknell Univer­sity is an exhibition entitled Spirit of Community: Photographs by Charles “Teenie” Harris, which will appeal to a broader au­dience than photographers and art enthusiasts since Harris’s photographs capture celebratory events and everyday occurrences over forty years in Pittsburgh and its neighborhoods. From history buffs interested in images depicting the civil rights movement, or in this segment of time in Pittsburgh’s history, to sports fans remembering favorite black players, or to those connected to the subjects and com­munities photographed by Harris, the exhibition will shed light on the lives and culture of East Pittsburgh through the eyes of Charles “Teenie” Harris.

Harris’s images are an important vi­sual history of Pittsburgh that even Pittsburghers know little about. His im­ages not only accompanied stories appearing in the Pittsburgh Courier, but he actually illustrated the twentieth-century black experience of Pittsburgh.

As a photojournalist, freelancer, and portrait photographer, Harris created nearly one hundred thousand negatives, some of which have never before been seen. After scrutinizing hundreds of nega­tives, exhibition organizers selected nearly one hundred photographs featured in Spirit of Community. While only a small number of photographs from the tremen­dous inventory of negatives are represented, their selection offers a range in imagery that provides the viewer with a sense of the broad scope of Harris’s work. Organizers believe that the value of the photographer’s legacy lies not only in the sheer volume of images, but also in the range of pictures he made. Both for the Courier and on his own, his images display a beautiful, vibrant social life in which people were proud and driven and celebrated life. He captured the lives and work of ordinary citizens, such as miners, factory workers, and businessmen on their way to work. He went into schools, churches, and YMCAs and recorded the activities that reinforced the integrity and values of the community.

Spirit of Community: Photographs by Charles “Teenie” Harris will continue through Friday, March 8 [2002].

For more information, write: Samek Art Gallery, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837; telephone (570) 577-3792; e-mail; or visit the Bucknell University website. Admission is free.


A Rediscovery

Dox Thrash (1893-1965) boldly con­fronted cultural history through his art, whether presenting a portrait of a strong individual, an unflinching image of racial violence, or a frank celebration of the fe­male nude. His work documents the African American’s evolving identity in the 1930s and 1940s, addressing contem­porary issues regarding race, history, gender, and modern art.

Born and raised in Griffin, Georgia, Thrash fought in Prance during World War I, and studied at the school of the Art Institute of Chicago between 1914 and 1923. Three years later he settled in Philadelphia. In 1937, at the height of the Great Depression, he joined Philadel­phia’s government-sponsored Works Progress Administration (WPA) Graphic Arts Workshop as a seasoned printmaker with a decided taste for experimentation. While with the WPA, Thrash discovered that gritty carborundum crystals, nor­mally employed to remove images from lithograph stones, could also be used to roughen the surface of copper plates to make etchings. The process was quickly adopted and adapted by other members of the WPA workshop, but the compelling imagery and rich chiaroscuro of Thrash’s own carborundum prints have ensured that is his name most closely linked with the innovative method.

In the early 1940s, Philadelphia Mu­seum of Art director Fiske Kimball and Carl Zigrosser, the museum’s curator of prints and drawings, took an active inter­est in the workshop’s efforts, acquiring seventy-five prints produced by African American artists for the WPA. The Philadelphia Museum of Art holds fifty works by Thrash, several of which are re­cent acquisitions. It acquired its first works by Thrash in 1941.

A major retrospective of one hundred prints, drawings, and watercolors docu­ments – for the very first time – the remarkable achievements of this impor­tant artist who rose to prominence in the late forties. Dox Thrash: An African Ameri­can Master Printmaker Rediscovered is on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through Sunday, February 24, 2002.

Drawn from public and private collec­tions, Dox Thrash: An African American Master Printmaker Rediscovered demon­strates the artist’s mastery of printmaking methods. The exhibition also documents the range of the artist’s poetic imagery: childhood memories of the rural South (Cabin Days, about 1938); hard times in the urban North (Coal Dust, about 1937); patriotic war work (Defense Worker, about 1941); sensuous nude studies (Siesta, about 1944/1948); as well as lively scenes of his community (Twenty-Fourth Street and Ridge Avenue, about 1937/1939) and sensitive portraits of its residents (Mary Lou, about 1939/1940).

Dox Thrash: An African American Master Printmaker Rediscovered is one of a series of exhibitions mounted in conjunction with the museum’s one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary in 2001 that cele­brate the remarkable contributions of artists born or based in Philadelphia.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by the museum and the University of Washington Press. In addition to scholarly essays, the volume contains the first illustrated catalogue raisonne of Thrash’s one hundred and eighty-eight known prints – two-thirds of which came to light as a result of research leading to the exhibition. In September 2002, the exhibit will open at the Terra Museum of Art in Chicago, the city in which Thrash received his art educa­tion.

Additional information is available by writing: Philadelphia Museum of Art, P.O. Box 7646, Philadelphia, PA 19101; by telephoning (215) 763-8100; by e-mailing­; or by visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art website. There is an ad­mission charge.