'The Coolest Museum in the World'
Eric Shiner, The Andy Warhol Museum’s new director, talks about the future of the cultural institution.
The torch has been passed to a new director and a new generation at The Andy Warhol Museum, the ultimate shrine to the pop-art legend and native son. Gen Xer Eric Shiner is the first director of The Warhol who, like Andy, hails from western Pennsylvania. Shiner grew up in nearby New Castle, notable as the Fireworks Capital of the World, site of Warner Bros.’ first movie theater and location of a torch-bearing public sculptural icon: the Statue of Liberty. (There’s another one just like it in New York, a supersized version that inspired one of Warhol’s silkscreens.)
Shiner, 40 (as of New Year’s Eve), grew up next to his family’s chocolate factory (where he worked in various capacities), and ever since he was a boy, has collected antiques and unusual objects, a passion shared with Warhol. He immersed himself in books and magazines, and was often “thinking of far-off places” — including Japan. That country was the theme during Shiner’s stint in the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for International Studies, to which he was selected in high school. In 1994, Shiner, a member of our 2011 40 Under 40 class, earned degrees in the history of art and architecture, and Japanese language and literature from the University of Pittsburgh’s Honors College.