The new director of The Andy Warhol Museum is a familiar face on the local arts scene: Eric C. Shiner, who became the museum's Milton Fine Curator of Art in 2008. The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh named Shiner director on July 8. He had been acting director since January, just after longtime director Tom Sokolowski's resignation.
Shiner, 39, is a native of New Castle, Pa., and a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. He was a curatorial intern at The Warhol just after it opened, in 1994, and went on to study art history in graduate school at Japan's Osaka University. He's a scholar of contemporary Asian art, an art writer and an adjunct professor at Pitt.
At The Warhol, Shiner's curatorial credits include 2010's The End: Analyzing Art in Troubled Times. He's also been active outside the museum, for instance, as a co-curator of the current multi-venue Pittsburgh Biennial.
At 6'5", Shiner stands out in a crowd, and since his return to Pittsburgh has been a warm and friendly presence at local arts events. While his predecessor Sokolowski's style tended more toward the impish, even controversial, Shiner praised the man he worked under for more than two years: "He was just a fantastic mentor and teacher."
Shiner's plans include getting more Pittsburghers in The Warhol's door. But he also wants to build the museum's social-media presence and its international profile: "Thinking of Warhol as the innovator of 20th-century art, it makes perfect sense for us to think of what a museum can be in the 21st century."