Andy Warhol's Brother Gets His 15 Minutes
Nov. 06, 1991
HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) _ Andy Warhol's brother has earned his 15 minutes of fame by painting critically acclaimed canvases with chicken's feet.
Paul Warhola's colorfully daubed panels of three-toed footprints are on display here at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.
Warhola - his more famous brother, who died in 1987, dropped the last vowel from his name - is a retired scrap metal operator who lives on a farm in Smock, Pa., surrounded by geese, ducks, cats, a dog and at least 150 chickens.
Warhola, 69, said his chicken-scratch art began as an accident when he was painting outdoors one day.
''I was called to the phone and when I came back, my chickens had gotten in my paint and this is what they created,'' he said. ''From then on, I used it as a trademark.''
Warhola said that at first he let the chickens prance around on the canvas but later - to gain more control - began using chicken and duck feet as his paintbrushes. He doesn't kill his own fowl; he gets the feet from someone else.
The show, which closes Nov. 24, includes chicken-scratch panels in blues, greens, yellows, purples and reds. A silk-screen photograph of him and his brother as teen-agers is marked by a chicken foot dipped in bright green paint.
The show also includes works by Warhola's son, James, an artist and illustrator from New York.
Museum director Jean Woods said the elder Warhola's pop art is a toned-down version of his brother's.
''The pop before was a blaze across the art scene at the time,'' Ms. Woods said. The new pop art ''is not so brazen. It's a softer, gentler type of pop art - like we're seeing in our politics.''
Visitors to the museum saw similarities between the brothers' work and said Warhola's would stand the test of time.
''It's amazing how strong the design element is,'' said Franz Lion, an interior decorator from Pittsburgh. ''It's the combination of colors - the tension between the colors. It creates a stimulation for the eye. It's amazing that these are chicken feet.''
Lance Davis, 21, a design major at Frostburg State University, said both brothers use repetition, bright colors and commercial images.
While Warhol made the Campbell soup can famous, his brother has created images of Heinz bean cans and ketchup bottles.
''My uncle liked the jet set, high life - rubbing shoulders with all kinds of people,'' said James Warhola, 36. ''My dad came from a blue-collar family. He's living on a farm now. He's really down to earth.''
''But they both have these similarities. They both love attention and the way they get ideas is the same,'' he said.
Warhola said he wasn't interested in the kind of fame that his brother once predicted would belong to everyone for 15 minutes.
''I'm not looking for a lot of publicity,'' he said. ''They want me to be all over the place, but I'm not into that. At my age, I don't need that.''