Andy Warhol Museum campaign turns up the heat

Agency MARC USA has created a sizzling campaign for The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh for its series of summer exhibitions

Agency MARC USA has created a sizzling – and somewhat disturbing – campaign for The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh for its series of summer exhibitions.

The three exhibitions feature non-traditional artists – musician and visual artist Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, photographer Caldwell Linker and sculptor/tattoo artist Nick Bubash. In keeping with the museum’s overarching aim to challenge people to step out of their comfort zone, MARC decided to focus on the message that summer is different at the Warhol.

The theme resulted in a set of images that subvert instantly recognisable summer scenarios and emblems (the bright beachball used as a gag, for example, the flip flops made from barbed wire or the hot dog bun containing a can-full of worms), designed to unsettle viewers just as the artists’ work does.

The images were created in collaboration between photographer Russ Quackenbush and retoucher Chris Bodie. They “pay tribute ot the way Andy might push convention”, says lead creative director Josh Blasingame, and they build on the idea that the three artists’ work on show over the summer is meant to provoke and make viewers uncomfortable.

The campaign is being rolled out outdoors throughout the summer, including at city festivals and other events, and the print campaign runs in newspapers and will be distributed throughout the city as postcards.

MARC has been working with the museum for about a year. “The ‘challenge yourself’ theme is the bigger picture,” says Blasingame. “That is what Warhol was all about. He really looked at art and life through a different lens than everyone else and some would say that he really revolutionised the art world. The museum believes in carrying that torch into the future. So whether or not the next campaign is as shocking as this one, it will find a way to challenge people to challenge themselves.”


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The July issue of Creative Review is a type special, with features on the Hamilton Wood Type Museum, the new Whitney identity and the resurgence of type-only design. Plus the Logo Lounge Trend Report, how Ideas Foundation is encouraging diversity in advertising and more.


  • Mattia

    Wow. This is a terrible campaign. Beyond the poor design, I fail to see the connection of S&M to Andy Warhol’s work. Can’t believe this is being placed outdoors.

  • as designers it’s our job to design for our audience, not for ourselves. personally, I find this campaign to be creative and fresh – but I have a feeling that it will fail to appeal to its target audience. Isn’t their target audience those who normally wouldn’t go to the museum? also I wouldn’t want to explain to my children the meaning behind the image of the woman with the mini-beach ball in her mouth.

  • mr bald

    I liked the wormdog! but as I scrolled down, I lost interest really quick… same ol’, same ol’ “ironic” hipster designs. fresh out of art school!

  • Matthew Ingram

    Really ghastly and nothing to do with Warhol.

  • One thing I do like is that it moves away from just the obvious pictures of the artwork. These images are visual challenge as were Warhols images at the time. I guess we have it ask what is challenging, shocking, against the status quo, these days?…