Gordon Locksley (left) and George Shea in front of their Mount Curve mansion in Minneapolis. (1969 photo from the Minneapolis Star Tribune files)

When it comes to Andy Warhol, Minneapolis was way ahead of the pack thanks to savvy art mavens Gordon Locksley and George Shea, who staged the first Minnesota show of the artist's work in 1975. Besides inspiring a legendary bacchanal, the show introduced Warhol to a lot of high-profile Midwesterners whose portraits he later painted in his signature silkscreen-on-canvas style.

Fans of that glamorous moment will want to shake out their wallets for "Andy Warhol in Minneapolis," a week-long show and sale of about 70 paintings, silkscreen prints, drawings, photos and Polaroid snapshots by the Pop superstar. The art is all from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, which is selling it to benefit the foundation's grant-making programs.

Christie's is really emphasizing the Minneapolis connections for the event, said Amelia Manderscheid, a Warhol expert at the New York auction house. 

Prices range from $4,000 for a Polaroid photo of a toy airplane to $250,000 for a silkscreen portrait of publishing executive Gardner Cowles, whose family formerly owned the Star Tribune. Other local celebrity subjects include Fred Weisman, namesake of the University of Minnesota's Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, his son Richard and former wife Marcia. Studies and/or drawings for Warhol's portraits of Locksley, Shea and Miles and Shirley Fiterman are also featured. 

Other art includes drawings of a Fiestaware pig, a Polaroid snapshot of a toy frog, and a series of athletes including ice skater Dorothy Hamill. There will also be two sunset-themed silkscreens from a series Warhol did on commission for the Marquette Hotel, then a Minneapolis landmark.

In addition, Locksley and Shea are lending eight drawings and four paintings by Warhol that will not be for sale.

The event runs from March 16-23 at Aria, an event-space in the former Theatre de la Jeune Lune in the Minneapolis warehouse district at 105 N. 1st St. Open 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., free.


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