“A picture means I know where I was every minute. That’s why I take pictures. It’s a visual diary.”
Andy Warhol (1928–1987) created some of the most iconic images of the twentieth century through an endless experimentation with a variety of media, including photography.
This mechanical technique was a natural medium for an artist whose research was dedicated to the process of objectifying the subject and divesting the work of authorial intention. But, at the same time, Warhol’s instant Polaroids and photographs allow us to look through his own eyes via the camera’s lens, visualizing his gesture, and revealing how he engaged with both the glamour and ordinariness of the world around him.
This exhibition brings together a selection of unique Polaroid and gelatin silver prints featuring friends from Warhol’s inner circle, movie stars, celebrities, and members of the international jazz set, which the artist executed during the last twenty years of his life. A number are portraits that Warhol executed on commission using a Polaroid Big Shot, an inexpensive fixed-focus instant camera designed specifically for taking portraits. During a portrait session, Warhol would take dozens of shots, to eventually pick one that he would use to create enlarged silk-screened paintings.
Three Warhol’s self-portraits are also included, alongside a selection of 1970s Polaroids from the Sex Parts and Torsos and the Ladies and Gentlemen series.
The variety of subjects, which Warhol objectified, glamorized or heroicized, illuminate the artist’s attitude towards fame and genre identity, his notion of friendship, as well as his ongoing investigation into ideas of originality and authorship.