How Hunter Underground Became a Pop Art Fever Dream in 2019

Gray Gill, Southside Creative

On a rainy Friday evening in March, guests flooded into underground portions of the Hunter Museum of Art for the museum’s one-of-a-kind cocktail party and silent auction, fittingly known as Hunter Underground. The annual fundraiser is one of many events organized by the steering committee of Avant-art, a patrons group whose members experience a unique side of the museum through exclusive art events and get-togethers.  

This year’s Hunter Underground sported a Pop Art theme. As Avant-art committee member Casey Yoshida put it: “Imagine Andy Warhol’s Factory was also Studio 54, and Studio 54 had a gallery show—all underneath the Hunter Art Museum.” 

Guests were greeted by Costco-sized technicolor soup cans hanging in doorways festooned with metallic fringe; glitter-studded paint swirls hung on the walls. From there, the décor only got more elaborate, culminating in an oversized Andy Warhol-style Chiquita banana suspended in the freight elevator, all thanks to installation artist Ashley Folkner. The party featured a silent auction, pop-up performances by the UTC men’s acapella choir and local drag superstar, Tyana Montice, a live DJ, the inimitable Smash and Grab gallery and an after-party. Whew – what a night!

The vision for Hunter Underground – and other Avant-art events – comes from the Hunter’s Avant-art committee: 10 dedicated community members who hope to spread their passion for the museum through the creation of experiences that bring the museum to life and connect the Hunter to art lovers throughout the area.

 Hunter Underground has always been a can’t-miss event for art-lovers and party-goers. But this year seemed to add a new dimension, championed by the forward thinking members of Avant-art. And there are more Avant-art experiences lined up for later this year.

“This year’s planning committee pulled off a spectacular event,” says Aly Haugland, Hunter Museum’s Membership and Events Manager. “Net revenue reached an all-time high, thanks to the tireless efforts of the Avant-art committee and this year’s event chair, Carley Boehm.”

And there are more exciting Avant-art events just around the corner. For more information or to join Avant-art at the Hunter, call Aly at 423.752.2045.

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