On Warhol’s Birthday, a Live Video Feed Streams From His Grave

A photographer at Andy Warhol's grave, seen in a screen shot of the live stream.A photographer at Andy Warhol’s grave, seen in a screen shot of the live stream.

Even Andy Warhol’s grave is getting its 15 minutes. Starting early Tuesday, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, along with the video network EarthCam, began a live video feed of the artist’s final resting place, to commemorate his birthday. Warhol, who died in 1987, would’ve been 85 on Tuesday.

The cemetery live stream will continue indefinitely. Eric Shiner, the director of the museum, told The Associate Press that the institution decided it “would be a really fantastic way to put Andy on the air 24/7 and plug in to our global audience.”

The project is called “Figment,” based on a comment from the ever-quotableWarhol:

I never understood why when you died, you didn’t just vanish, and everything could just keep going on the way it was only you just wouldn’t be there. I always thought I’d like my own tombstone to be blank. No epitaph and no name.  Well, actually, I’d like it to say “figment.”

Warhol’s modest grave, in a Catholic cemetery in a suburb of Pittsburgh, his hometown, is inscribed with his name, the dates of his birth and death, and a cross. On Tuesday, the Webcam showed it surrounded by plants and flowers, with several Mylar balloons blowing in the breeze. “Happy Birthday,” one read. Warhol’s parents are buried nearby; the family was devoutly Catholic, and Warhol went to church regularly.

The gravesite has become a pilgrimage site for Warhol fans, who often leave pop art mementoes like Campbell’s Soup cans. It’s also the centerpiece of“Figments: Conversations with Andy,” a long-running project by the artist Madelyn Roehrig, in which she documents visitors to the grave and the notes and objects they leave there.

The Webcam’s static shot is reminiscent of “Empire,” Warhol’s 1964 movie focused for 8 hours on the Empire State Building. But more action may be coming: the EarthCam network said it would also set up a live feed at the church where Warhol was baptized; if people send flowers, they can watch them be delivered to his gravesite, the company told The A.P.

“We believe that this will give Warhol the pleasure of knowing that he is still plugged in and turned on over 25 years after his death,” Mr. Shiner said.

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