Press Release Heroes & Villains: The Comic Book Art of Alex Ross and Fifteen Minutes: Homage to Andy Warhol

An image of superman.

Alex Ross, Mythology: Superman, 2005, courtesy of the artist, SUPERMAN, ®, TM and © 2011 DC Comics. All Rights Reserved. From the exhibition Heroes & Villains: The Comic Book Art of Alex Ross

For immediate release

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Heroes & Villains: The Comic Book Art of Alex Ross

October 2, 2011 to January 8, 2012

Heroes & Villains is the first museum exhibition celebrating the artwork of Alex Ross, today’s foremost comic book artist. Ross, acclaimed for the photorealism of his work is often referred to as “the Norman Rockwell of the comics world.”
Heroes & Villains features over 130 works represented as paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculptures from Ross’s personal collection. The pieces range from a crayon drawing of Spider-Man that he created at the age of four through to today’s paintings. This exhibition outlines Ross’s career of redefining comic books and graphic novels for a new generation of followers of Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and other classic comic book superheroes. The exhibition also includes original artwork by Frank Bez, J.C. Leyendecker, Andrew Loomis, Norman Rockwell, and Lynette Ross (Ross’s mother and a successful commercial illustrator), as well as artworks and archival material from The Andy Warhol Museum collection.

Born in Portland, Oregon in 1970 and raised in Lubbock, Texas, Alex Ross grew up in a world of colorful, painted images. Ross’s mother, Lynette, was a successful illustrator in the 1940s and 1950s, the same time that Warhol was creating his commercial illustrations in New York City. By the time Ross was 13 years old he was drawing and scripting comic books. At the age of 17, Ross went on to study painting at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, where he was influenced by Salvador Dali’s hyperrealism, as well as by such classic American illustrators as Rockwell and Leyendecker.

Ross began his professional career as a storybook artist for an advertising agency. At the age of 19 Ross received his first comic assignment from Marvel Comics – a comic titled Terminator: The Burning Earth. Five years later, Ross created the illustrations and cover art for Marvels, a full feature comic book, co-written by Kurt Busiek. Ross’s photorealistic gouache technique showcases superheroes and villains such as Spider-Man, the Human Torch, Captain America and Galactus. His sophomore project, Kingdom Come, is a comic in which an alternate DC Universe is filled with aging superhero forces including Superman, Wonder Woman and the Green Lantern, who come out of retirement to fight modern superhumans. Thanks to his talents, Ross would go on to win the Comic Buyer’s Guide Award for Favorite Painter seven times in a row, resulting in the retirement of the category.

Curated by The Warhol’s Director of Exhibitions, Jesse Kowalski, Heroes & Villains comprises 5,500 square feet of gallery space. Kowalski states that Warhol had a natural interest in comic book art: “Given Warhol’s vital role in using and adapting American popular culture, it seems only natural that he would have an interest in comic books. Warhol was a lifelong fan of comic books, evident in his first Pop Art exhibition in 1961 in which he displayed paintings of Superman, Popeye, and Dick Tracy. Several of Warhol’s comic books, from his personal collection, are on display in the exhibition, including ones he bought in the 1930s as a child in Pittsburgh.” Ross has graciously prepared an original artwork for The Warhol – a painting of Andy Warhol flying in the air with swans. This original artwork will be available to the public in a limited edition poster exclusively at The Warhol Store (412-237-8303) for $15. An exhibition catalogue in the style of a comic book will also be available exclusively at The Warhol Store for $2.99.

Ross will be on hand for the opening celebration on October 1, 2011 which includes a private tour of the exhibition, an autograph session and the Heroes & Villains Unmasked party. “The opportunity to be featured at the Warhol Museum is one of the greatest achievements of my career. It is an honor to have such a prestigious museum exhibition my work next to that of Andy Warhol’s,” Ross stated.

In addition, Warhol’s uncompleted film Batman/Dracula (1964), which has not been on view since 1964, is also included in the exhibition.

This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of DC Entertainment with additional support by BRGR , Point Park University and The Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

Media Sponsor: Pittsburgh’s CW

FIFTEEN MINUTES: Homage To Andy Warhol
An Exhibition in Sight and Sound
October 2, 2011 – January 8, 2012
Organized and produced by Wu-Shan, Inc. (Jeff Gordon and Path Soong), this exhibition features silkscreen prints and original recordings, ranging from spoken word to music and sound, created by a diverse roster of artists, writers, and performers who knew, worked with, were associated with or were inspired by Andy Warhol.

Jeff Gordon, who knew and admired Warhol, first conceptualized the idea of producing recordings (spoken word, sound pieces, and music) by visual artists in the early 1980s, while he was the co-owner of the Greene Street Recording Studio. Gordon’s first endeavor, Revolutions Per Minute (1982), packaged 20 of these recordings on a double LP, in a box with 20 visual prints by 20 artists. The idea turned into a traveling exhibition, and the boxes were purchased by art world collectors, museums, galleries and audio connoisseurs and serves as a precedent to the FIFTEEN MINUTES traveling exhibition and box set.

Artists included in the exhibition are Yura Adams, Connie Beckley, Brigid Berlin, Susan Breen, Bob Dylan, Nat Finkelstein, Vincent Freemont, John Giorno, Jeff Gordon, Alexander Heinrici, Ivan Karp, Christopher Makos, Billy Name, Carter Ratcliff, Patti Smith, Path Soong, Ultra Violet, and Lawrence Weiner.


FIFTEEN MINUTES juxtaposes each artist’s 12 by 12 inch (album sized) visual image with an accompanying audio work. For example, Smith’s poem, “Edie,” muses on the life and death of the Warhol Superstar Edie Sedgwick. Finkelstein’s screen printed photograph shows Warhol and Bob Dylan in the Factory with one of Warhol’s Elvis paintings in the background. In his song, When I Paint My Masterpiece, Dylan critiques the Warholian notion of fame and success. Gordon’s screen print modifies one of Warhol’s Brillo Box sculptures as a visual analogy to his sound piece, which loops excerpts from a Warhol interview which lasts 15 minutes.

The FIFTEEN MINUTES box set, sponsored by Sony and released through Sony’s Legacy Recordings on August 6 (Warhol’s Birthday) of this year, is an edition of 1,964, and contains offset prints, CDs, vinyl records, and notes. A deluxe edition, which is an edition of 85, contains 16 signed and numbered silkscreen prints (one from each artist), three CDs, four vinyl records and notes, is also available. A portion of the sales of these box sets will benefit The Andy Warhol Museum. Both sets are available at The Warhol Store (412-237-8300).

Sony Music Entertainment is the sponsor of the exhibition tour worldwide. For more information visit

Exhibition Related Public Programming

Heroes & Villains Private Tour with Artist Alex Ross
Saturday, October 1, 2011
1:30 p.m.
Be one of 30 people to take a private tour of our latest special exhibition, Heroes & Villains: The Comic Book Art of Alex Ross, with the creator himself, Alex Ross. Don’t miss this rare opportunity!

Tickets $250; visit or call 412-237-8300.

Heroes & Villains Artist Alex Ross Autograph Session

Saturday, October 1, 2011

 3 – 5 p.m.

Get your collectables signed by famed comic book artist Alex Ross during this rare public appearance.
This program is presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Heroes & Villains: The Comic Book Art of Alex Ross.


Heroes and Villains Unmasked Party
Saturday, October 1, 2011
8 p.m.
Join us to celebrate the opening of our latest special exhibition Heroes & Villains: The Comic Book Art of Alex Ross. This not-to-be-missed party features famed comic book artist Alex Ross in person, music by Pittsburgh’s own Tracksploitation, lite bites and two complimentary beverages.

Tickets $35/$30 CMP Members; visit or call 412-237-8300.

Heroes and Villains Film Series: Flash Gordon film screening with special guest, star Sam Jones
Friday, October 7, 2011
7 p.m.

Flash Gordon, 1980
Flash Gordon, quarterback for the New York Jets, joins forces with beautiful Dale Arden and mad scientist Dr. Hans Zarkov to overthrow the planet Mongo’s evil emperor Ming the Merciless.
With special guest, the film’s star Sam Jones.
Tickets $15; visit or call 412-237-8300

Heroes and Villains Film Series: The Toxic Avenger with special guest, Director Lloyd Kaufman
Friday, October 21, 2011
7 p.m.

A film introduction by Director Lloyd Kaufman along with a film screening of The Toxic Avenger (1984) followed by an audience Q&A session.
Tickets $15; visit or call 412-237-8300

Heroes and Villains Film Series: Escape from New York film screening with special guests, stars Adrienne Barbeau and Tom Atkins
Friday, November 4, 2011
7 p.m.

A film introduction by Adrienne Barbeau and Tom Atkins along with a film screening of Escape from New York (1981) followed by an audience Q&A session. Tickets $15; visit or call 412-237-8300

Heroes and Villains Film Series: Night of the Creeps film screening with special guests, star Tom Atkins and Director Fred Dekker
Friday, November 18, 2011
7 p.m.

A film introduction by Tom Atkins and Fred Dekker along with a film screening of Night of the Creeps (1986) followed by an audience Q&A session.
Tickets $15; visit or call 412-237-8300

Heroes & Villains Film Series: Revenge of the Nerds film screening with special guest, star Curtis Armstrong
Friday, December 2, 2011
7 p.m.

A film introduction by actor Curtis Armstrong along with a film screening of Revenge of the Nerds (1984) followed by an audience Q&A session.
Tickets $15; visit or call 412-237-8300

Chip Kidd Lecture

December 9, 2011 7 p.m.

Chip Kidd’s first novel, The Cheese Monkeys, was a national bestseller and a New York Times notable book of the year. Kidd, a graphic designer and writer living in New York City and Stonington, Connecticut, has written and designed the Alex Ross publications Mythology: The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross and Rough Justice: The DC Comics Sketches of Alex Ross among many award winning publications. Co-sponsored by AIGA Pittsburgh

Tickets $25/$10 for AIGA members; visit or call 412-237-8300

The Warhol receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; and The Heinz Endowments. Further support is provided by the Allegheny Regional Asset District.

The Andy Warhol Museum

Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the place of Andy Warhol’s birth, The Andy Warhol Museum holds the largest collection of Warhol’s artworks and archival materials and is one of the most comprehensive single-artist museums in the world. The Warhol is one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

Established in 1895 by Andrew Carnegie, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is a collection of four distinctive museums: Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum. The museums reach more than 1.4 million people a year through exhibitions, educational programs, outreach activities, and special events.