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Superheroes conquer Warhol Museum

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August08/ 2011

When the Andy Warhol Museum begins displaying famed comic book painter Alex Ross’s lush, photorealistic depictions of Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and other iconic heroes, they won’t be the only super-people in the museum’s halls.

Children will be able to create their own superhero masks, and design and create characters, using screen printing methods passed down from Andy Warhol himself. That’s because the Warhol is tailoring its Weekend Factory art activities to the exhibit. “Whether you know it or not, you are saying something about yourself when you create your own superhero or villain,” says Dave English, the museum’s resident artist/educator.

Kids will have plenty of inspiration from the Ross exhibit, which is titled “Heroes and Villains” and will take up 5,500 square feet of gallery space from Oct. 1 until Jan. 8. The American Academy of Art-educated Ross cemented his place in comics with two celebrated series, 1994’s Marvels for Marvel Comics and 1996’s Kingdom Come for DC. He went on to paint countless posters and comic book covers and even a few dinner plates showcasing well-known characters. His work for DC was compiled into a coffee table book, and he won Comics Buyer’s Guide’s “Favorite Painter” award so many times the magazine discontinued it.

The Warhol’s retrospective of more than a hundred Ross works goes way back. “We have these paper dolls of the Justice League he did as a kid,” says English. “They’re pretty complicated for kids’ art.”

English is hoping to encourage those watchful guardians who are always present at the Warhol, the museum guards, to get in on the spirit and put on a mask and/or cape.

“Some people are really into it and have their identities and costumes picked out,” English says, “and others groan and ask, ‘Um, what days will we be doing that?'”

Writer: Nick Keppler

Source: Dave English, Andy Warhol Museum

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