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Warhol Cocktails: The Campbell's Soup Bloody Mary

The San Diego Museum of Art raises a toast to its new "Gauguin to Warhol" exhibit.

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    THE FACTORY MEETS THE MUSEUM: Museums are oft-thought-of and oft-portrayed as places where one is to stand stroking their chin and murmuring about the thematic purpose of a sculpture. Far rarer is the portrayal of a lofty art institution as a place of fun, of conviviality, of cocktails and of go-go dancing. After all, we're not supposed to run inside proper museums, or so say the guards; how on earth might one go-go dance? They can, and will, at the San Diego Museum of Art, when "Gauguin to Warhol: 20th Century Icons from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery" opens in October. Nope, painting-packed galleries are not just for murmuring and thinking silently to one's self; they're for echoing the atmosphere created by the art, very often, like when a Warhol-tastic show comes along. If you want to toast such a '60s-pop-art-y event, do you stand about and murmur? Heck no: You call in some go-go specialists and you set up a Lichtenstein make-up station and you give the bartenders a recipe for Bloody Marys that put a Campbell's Soup spin on the sip. Then you lend your museum a Factory-feel, to complete the surround-sound -- or rather surround-scene -- atmosphere. It's all happening on Thursday, Oct. 16 at the Balboa Park museum.

    IF YOU CAN'T DO COCKTAILS... with other Warhol buffs, you can still take in the wide-sweeping exhibit, which runs from Oct. 4 through Jan. 27 of next year. As for the over-big-umbrella-wrap-it-all-up theme? As mentioned, think "20th Century Icons." So, yep, in addition to Gauguin and Warhol you'll eye by Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell. There'll also be a few late-1800s cameos in the expansive show by masters like Vincent Van Gogh and Henri Matisse. All amazing artworks, worthy of raising a Campbell's Soup Bloody Mary to (well, from a sensible, guard-approved distance, of course). Or you can stand and gently murmur, too. However one takes in art is a good thing, because they're taking in art.