Notice: hardly two weeks after writing the blog post below, the sad news came that Matt Wrbican on June 1st has lost his battle with cancer and passed away. Matt did not get to see his new book published, which is now scheduled for August 13th. He did however receive the very first copy, a week before his death, says Abigail Franzen-Sheehan, director of publications for The Andy Warhol Museum, in Matt’s obituary in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The book will without a doubt be an indispensable addition to Matt Wrbican’s already great legacy in the world of Warhol knowledge. Rest in peace, Matt.
A book I am really looking forward to is A is for Archive, Warhol’s World from A to Z by my friend Matt Wrbican, former chief archivist of The Warhol Museum. It will be published by Yale University Press and is scheduled for July.
Warhol not only was a workaholic, with a gigantic artistic oeuvre, he also was an obsessive collector of, well… anything. Matt Wrbican knows! He has spent decades archiving and cataloguing Warhol’s art and private collection. The Warhol Museum is said to have more than half a million objects in its archives. The Carnegie magazine – The Warhol is one of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh – has published a great article on Matt, his work at the archive, and the new book.
During the years Matt has curated numerous large and small Warhol exhibitions. Unpublished texts he wrote for these exhibitions, will be in the book A is for Archive, Warhol’s World from A to Z. The title and structure of the book of course refer to Warhol’s A is an Alphabet, and The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again). The book is organized alphabetically, something Warhol himself always loved to do: chapters go from A is for Autograph (a selection of signed objects, many of which influenced his most popular works), over F is for Fashion (featuring his collections of cowboy boots, neckties, and jackets), until Z is for Zombie (a grouping of photographs and ephemera of Warhol in various disguises: drag, robot, zombie, clown).
Being an obsessive collector of Warhol cover art myself, I frequently contacted Matt. He always was a great help and inspiration. First time we met was in Montreal, at the opening of the Warhol Live exhibition (2008). We kept in touch since then. In Pittsburgh Matt showed me the house where Warhol grew up, and gave me a tour at the Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon School of Art, part of Carnegie Mellon University) where both Warhol and Matt himself studied arts. Matt also invited me a couple of times at the Warhol archive, to have a look at some amazing and rare pieces. That was great!
As I said, I’m looking forward to the new book. Knowing Matt, it will be interesting, funny and juicy stories. A is for Archive, Warhol’s World from A to Z can be pre-ordered at the Warhol Museum (firstname.lastname@example.org).