As American as Andy Warhol

Studio 360

Handpicked by President Obama as the host city of last week's G-20 economic conference, Pittsburgh may finally be getting its due.

While most news coverage of the event was more concerned with the art of global financial negotiations than with the artwork hanging on the walls of the city's museums, a different kind of story caught my eye. That would be Michelle Obama's selection of The Andy Warhol Museum as the cultural destination to show off to the husbands and wives of the visiting dignitaries. While the heads of state were wrangling over bankers' compensation and fossil fuel subsidies, their spouses were busy silk screening one of Warhol's flower images onto tote bags at the museum.

first ladies

First Ladies of the G-20 -- From left: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Sarah Brown, an unidentified woman, and Michelle Obama (Crown Copyright Photo)

If we needed any confirmation that Warhol is an American icon (listen to Studio 360's homage here), this was it. With the first lady's endorsement, Pittsburgh's most celebrated pop artist is now as American as... Campbell's Soup. Think about it: he was obsessed with fame; he was a product of commercialism if there ever was one; and he was a free-thinking pioneer who remade the world in his own image. How much more American can you get?

BTW: We're eagerly anticipating a visit from another of Pittsburgh's favorite sons: Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon will be on Studio 360 next week to talk about his new book, Manhood for Amateurs. Stay tuned.