PITTSBURGH — The formerly Seventh Street Bridge is currently the only bridge in the country to be named for a visual artist, Andy Warhol.
Born Andrew Warhola in 1928, and raised in Oakland, he graduated from Schenley High School in 1945. Shortly after graduating from the Carnegie Institute of Technology, he moved to New York City. There he enjoyed a successful career as an advertisement illustrator.
His nomadic New York studio was called “The Factory," and was a place where celebrities, wealthy patrons and the whole palette of humanity would gather and participate in his experimental art. At the Factory, an openly homosexual Warhol was described as presiding over an active drug and party culture in a sexually tense “court of lunatics.”
Warhol’s influential works spanned across multiple disciplines from printmaking to cinema. He became, perhaps, best known for his silkscreen paintings “Campbell’s Soup Cans” and “Marilyn Monroe.” Other notable works included various self-portraits and the BMW Art Car Project.
The surgery was thought to be routine, but his family sued New York Hospital and accused it of providing poor care. The suit was settled out of court.
His brothers brought his body back to Pittsburgh and Warhol was buried at St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cemetery in Bethel Park.
The Andy Warhol Museum opened on Pittsburgh’s North Side on Sandusky Street, following extensive renovations to the industrial warehouse, in May 1994.
The museum is the largest single-artist museum in North America and holds the largest collection of Warhol’s art and archival materials, including 350 films, more than 4,000 videotapes and 610 time capsules that Warhol filled during his life.
The Seventh Street Bridge is one of three self-anchored suspension bridges built across the Allegheny River between 1924 to 1928, the first of their kind in the United States. Known as the Three Sisters, the bridges use steel eyebars instead of cables and are the only trio of nearly identical bridges in the nation.
The bridge was renamed for Andy Warhol on March 18, 2005, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the nearby Andy Warhol Museum. Sandusky Street, where the museum is located, leads to the bridge.
The other two sister bridges have also been renamed. The Sixth Street Bridge was renamed for Roberto Clemente in 1999 and the Ninth Street Bridge was renamed for Rachel Carson in 2006.
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