Andy Warhol: Prints, Polaroids, and Photographs from the Collection

  • Sep 29, 2018 – Feb 3, 2019
  • Gallery 6
Andy Warhol, “Queen Beatrix”, 1985, from the “Reigning Queens”
series, screen print on Lenox museum board, extra, out of the edition.
Designated for research and educational purposes only. Gift of the Andy
Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, 2013.

Andy Warhol explored the relationships among artistic expression, celebrity culture, and popular culture that first began in the 1960s. In a way, his singular, matchless endeavors anticipated today’s trends with Instagram, Snapchat, and cell phone cameras. Three distinct bodies of work comprise this star-studded exhibition to underscore Warhol’s unique vision. 

Warhol shot his iconic color Polaroids of celebrities and society figures systematically in his studio. After interviewing the sitter, he would place the person in front of a plain white background for multiple photographs in various poses. Sometimes white makeup would be applied to the person’s face to compensate for the effect of the camera’s flash. Ceaselessly egalitarian, Warhol would solicit input from the sitter and whoever else was on hand before selecting the best image to use as the basis for a larger work. 

In contrast to this methodical approach, he made his black-and-white, 8 x 10-inch photographs spontaneously using various automatic (point-and-shoot) cameras. Rather than serving as source material, their primary purpose was documentary. Warhol took a camera with him wherever he went and once said, “A picture means I know where I was every minute. That’s why I take pictures. It’s a visual diary.” These images allow us to tag along with him as he experienced everyday life. 

Lastly, the four screenprints on display reveal Warhol’s broad approach to subject matter, ranging from the historic to the current, and from the legendary to the ordinary. Warhol favored the screenprinting technique in part because it allowed him easily to make a large quantity of artwork in short time. The bright, aggressive colors of these prints activate their rather banal images.

Organized by Elaine D. Gustafson, Curator of Collections. 

Related Program:

Noon @ the ‘Spoon Public Tour • Dec 11 @ 12pm

We have six galleries located on the first and second levels of the museum, view our gallery map.