Is it art? Museum sets up live video feed of Andy Warhol grave


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The Independent Culture

The fascination for Andy Warhol still continues long after his death with his works fetching millions of dollars. But just as his prints left many contemporary critics frothing about their merits, a scheme allowing fans to watch his grave day and night could now be met with the same question: is it art?

The Andy Warhol Museum has set up the live feed of the celebrated artist’s gravesite, at St John the Baptists Byzantine Catholic Cemetery in Pittsburgh, US, in a “collaborative project” called Figment.

The project was designed to mark the artist’s birthday today, when he would have been 85 years old, and the Warhol Museum joined with the EarthCam network to set up the feed on Monday nights.

The museum’s director, Eric Shiner, said the name for the project came from a quote from Warhol himself – who once said: “I always thought I’d like my own tombstone to be blank. No epitaph and no name. Well, actually, I’d like it to say ‘figment’.” This wish was not granted when he died in 1987, however: the grave, which attracts hundreds of devotees a year, in fact uses his original name – Warhola – and gives the dates of his birth and death.

Now viewers can see people pay their respect in real time thanks to the curious live feed, and Mr Shiner said the project would be a good way to plug Warhol into a “global audience”, which they think would have given the artist pleasure.

Fans have left mementos at the site including Campbell’s Soup cans and Coca-Cola bottles, referencing some of the artist’s most famous screen prints.

The museum was clearly not worried about another of Warhol’s quotes in which he said: “I’m afraid that if you look at a thing long enough, it loses all of its meaning.”

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has teamed up with Christie’s for a series of auctions of the artist’s work.