“Andy Warhol Presents” is a small but weighty collection of Andy Warhol’s early work – as well as a surprising smattering of Edie Sedgwick drawings – running in the University Art Museum until Oct. 7.

Upon first entering the museum’s featured exhibit, the viewer is met with an impressive Miss Dior advertisement. It towers above you, confident in its own Warholian coolness. There are over six feet of wood paneling, an artful re-creation of the original window display meant for the now-disbanded department store Bonwit Teller. More importantly, the art-as-advertising object served to sell Christian Dior’s 1947 perfume debut, Miss Dior. The piece serves as visual summation of the exhibit, simultaneously mocking and celebrating contemporary commercialism with the trademark combination of irreverence, insouciance, adoration and fascination that characterized Warhol’s relationship with pop culture.

Much of the collection concerns a specific time period in which the famed pop artist was developing his technique of using ink-pen drawings pressed on to absorbent Strathmore paper. The resulting effect is a series of images that echo the original drawings, but feature subtleties created and captured in the process. The ink-pressed Strathmore series deals with many themes that are central to Warhol’s more familiar work, and particularly with the idea of commercialization.

These themes are explored in a variety of interesting ways, including designs Warhol made for a line of fantastical shoes and a series of hats with humorously allegorical names and purposes. Perhaps the most amusing of these images were the ones meant to illicit a true response from the viewer like “When I’m Calling Shoe “or “Tap Shoe” – a yellow pump with an impossible spigot sprouting from the upper heel, sure to garner an illicit giggle from the respectful museumgoer. With their unique combination of irreverence, wit and popular iconography, it is not a big leap to assume that these early Strathmore drawings are a forerunner to Warhol’s later pioneering with the famed Campbell’s Soup cans and his subsequent crowning as the father of the pop art in America.

Even though many of these drawings were made before the peak of Warhol’s fame, it is clear that he was already influencing and being influenced by his well-known coterie of celebrity devotees and beautiful waif-like women. The most popular of these beauties was Edie Sedgwick, a celebutante in her own time, a free spirit and, according to the museum exhibit, a not-too-unskilled artist. Though her work speaks of the obvious creative energy she was privy to, the drawings of fantastical horses and ephemeral beings could have been done by an elementary art student, or a person under the influence of major psychoactive substances, or both.

The most interesting facets of Sedgwick – other than the fact that she came from our own sunny Santa Barbara – are captured in the blurred images of Warhol’s 1965 film “Poor Little Rich Girl.” The exhibit includes a foil-enclosed viewing room of the film and squishy purple seating. Once enclosed, viewers can completely surround themselves in Warhol’s construction of youth and beauty – captured in the mundane actions of Edie Sedgwick.

Despite the more dramatic undertones of the Warhol myth, the element of humor is clearly present throughout the entire exhibit and there are little jokes along the way. And though there are great attempts on the curators part to monumentalize certain precursory elements of Warhol’s work, one can’t help but think that for all his status as an icon, sometimes all Warhol really wanted to do was make people laugh.