The Factory Comes to Grand Rapids

(Above) Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn)
Andy Warhol, Marilyn (Marilyn Monroe), 1967, screenprint on paper, 36 x 36 inches. Grand Rapids Art Museum, a tribute gift, in honor of Mary Nelson’s passionate dedication to Education and the Arts for young people, by her husband James Pingree Nelson, 2015.12 © 2017 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Marilyn Monroe™; Rights of Publicity and Persona Rights: The Estate of Marilyn Monroe LLC.

by Bri Kilroy

When the public first confronted Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans and Green Coca-Cola Bottles, their definition of art broadened as they were challenged to face the familiar from a different perspective. The Factory, the studio in which Warhol and a surfeit of eclectic types worked and created, became an equal staple in Warhol’s contribution to the art world. Celebrating its newest exhibition, Andy Warhol’s American Icons (running through Feb. 11) and the artist that brought life and beauty to everyday objects, the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) is giving us the chance to surround ourselves with Warhol’s vision at the Warhol Factory Party.

The Factory Party, featuring live performances and dance provoking spins by DJs, takes place at the ArtPrize HUB (41 Sheldon Ave. NE) following GRAM’s Members Exhibition Party at the museum. Hosting the party at the ArtPrize HUB rather than inside the museum gave the planning committee, panoGRAM, the opportunity to embrace the factory-like interior and reflect the original studio space that resided in Midtown Manhattan.

“The space feels like a factory,” said Marnie McGuire, GRAM’s manager of corporate partnerships and fundraising events. “A lot of thought was put in trying to replicate the feeling of Warhol’s factory.”

Andy Warhol, Moonwalk, 1987, screenprint on Lenox Museum Board. Steelcase Art Collection. © 2017 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York

Accounts of The Factory from those who were lucky enough to experience it in New York between 1962 and 1984 describe it as a space where society’s misfits could “escape normal” and “be a freak and it would be good.” Receiving visitors from drag queens to filmmakers to artists enthralled in a new medium, The Factory fostered creativity without discrimination.

“Cool doesn’t have an age,” McGuire continued, very much honing the all-inclusive style Warhol projected when choosing his subject matter and guests of The Factory. In order to continue this legacy, 18 artists weave into the night’s entertainment, which features drag performances, live models, film, a mix of DJs and more.

The Warhol Factory Party occurs Nov. 3, 9 p.m.-1 a.m. at the ArtPrize HUB. Tickets are on sale now at for $20 ($25 at the door if there are any left). Attendees enjoy a cash bar, live entertainment and a collection of food trucks parked outside for the moment appetite strikes. Seize the opportunity to be part of the community that flowed through Warhol’s original factory and join GRAM in celebrating the wonder, intrigue and mystery of Warhol.

What: Andy Warhol’s Factory Party
Where: ArtPrize HUB, 41 Sheldon Ave. NE.
When: Nov. 3, 9 p.m.-1 a.m.
Tickets: $20/in advance. $25 at the door. Tickets available at

Bri Kilroy is a Grand Valley and AmeriCorps alumna who learned to type through vigorous Mavis Beacon trainings. She also passes as an artist, illustrator and author of this bio.



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