As artists, designers, and project managers — we are always looking to see where and when we can tell a fascinating story. Project Windows — Andy Warhol — From A to B and Back Again Exhibit at the Art Institute became the perfect catalyst to channel the vibrancy of play.
Our team was fueled by Andy Warhol’s art — the infamous banana on the Velvet Underground and Nico’s 1967 album cover, Cow Wallpaper from his first in a series of wallpaper designs he created from the 1960’s to the 1980’s, and other iconic pieces like 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans.
We wanted to create window display designs that evoked imagination in a surreal way. Our creative team at Kehoe Designs cultivated personas by breathing life into the bananas. By building these banana characters — like the mechanical engineer — we stimulated the viewing experience, allowing people to feel more connected.
Have you spotted the Tom Kehoe banana at Project Windows?!
Project Windows competition, located on Michigan Ave at The Blackstone Hotel, the corner of Balbo through January 26th.
Project Windows, Behind The Design | Spotlight: Pamela Maurer — In Her Words
(Creative Services Artistic Event Designer at KEHOE DESIGNS)
Creating window displays, as an artist and designer, is one of the most interesting and exciting ways to engage with people. Unlike art, one encounters in a studio, gallery, museum, or home — ANYONE, in theory, could engage with them at any time. Our Project Windows Exhibit at The Blackstone Hotel, no tickets are needed, no programmed tour, no talk. You need to be in the right place at the right time.
The Project Windows narrative we are telling is about banana workers recreating Warhol’s work to scale. Our goal was to keep the focal banana as close to the iconic Velvet Underground record as possible. Allowing these banana personas to be in their form—slightly less refined, illustrative, playful.
Another nod to Warhol’s iconic Polaroid Portrait series are the frames installed outside of The Blackstone. Inviting the viewer to stop, snap a selfie, and picture themselves behind his lens. If you look closely at the graphic panel, you’ll notice the banana celebs. Some of these characters have a tie to Warhol, including Marilyn Monroe (who coincidentally stayed at The Blackstone) and Andy Warhol’s self-portrait (the original selfie). Other famous guests of the hotel are mixed with some contemporary Chicago icons — bringing the lens as close to home as possible.
Mercat a la Planxa-Inspired
We can’t forget about the iconic cow. In the Mercat a la Planxa-inspired windows, we designed moody, elevated, and artful prints utilizing his process (printmaking) as an inspiration. The texture of halftone dots — he played up this look in his highly textural print style. It’s everywhere! Each object relates to one another to create a mood. A feeling of vibrancy, an invitation to get a little closer.
My favorite piece to create was the pair of bespoke cowboy boots featured in the cow-themed, “lifestyle” window on Michigan Ave. Warhol himself created large scale inkblots, and the combo evokes traditional cow print. I was inspired by Warhol and his collection of muses. Also, inspired by contemporary fashion designer and artist, Virgil Abloh, who incorporates text into his work. His ability to unite ideas across different genres and present those ideas as objects are truly the reflection of these window exhibits. Don’t forget to visit exhibit at the Art Institute — a must see!
Left to right: Kirsten Abrahamson (Project Manager), Pamela Maurer (Creative Services Artistic Event Designer), Bridget Frizzie (Creative Director)
CREDITS: Design & Production by Kehoe Designs, Exhibit Location at The Blackstone Hotel
Scale, balance, and color are the tools of an artist, and Andy Warhol, to this day, has done it best. He is the icon of Contemporary Art. In conjunction with the blockbuster Warhol exhibits, we wanted to celebrate Mercat a la Planxa, the timeless traditions, and heritage of Spain. Join Chicago as we celebrate Project Windows — Andy Warhol — From A to B and Back Again exhibit at The Art Institute of Chicago.