NeueHouse Hollywood’s ‘Andy Warhol: Photo Factory’ Exhibits Rare Images by the Pop Art Prince
In the post-Millennial mania for contemporary art, Andy Warhol – already one of the four or five most famous artists of the 20th Century – became a particular obsession with deep-pocketed collectors. Indeed, his Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) fetched $105 million in 2013. But of late, the big money has been on the likes of Basquiat, Hirst, Koons and even Gerhard Richter, whose Abstraktes Bild (649-2) sold at auction at Sotheby’s Hong Kong last October for $27.6 million – the most ever for a Western artist in an Asia based gallery. (Basquiat’s Untitled went for a jaw-dropping $110 million in New York in 2016.)
Of course, Warhol was an illustrator, painter, screenprinter, filmmaker and arguably a keen sociologist – but as came to be understood in his later life, photography was his genuine obsession. And NeueHouse Hollywood has gathered what may be the most comprehensive survey of his photographic images ever, for an exhibition pithily titled Andy Warhol: Photo Factory. Displaying more than 120 images (20 of those are being shown for the first time ever), it acts as a kind of visual narrative, explicating his short but epochal time as a living, working artist in a still culturally mercurial, nay electric period in New York City.
The show was curated and produced in conjunction with Hedges Projects and Fotografiska, the venerable Stockholm photography museum which opened an acclaimed outpost in New York’s Flatiron in 2019.
The latter’s Grace Noh explains, “Andy Warhol: Photo Factory was created to underscore who he was as a person, an artist and an experimenter through his photography, and to delve into the stories and subjects behind the surface of his iconic images – beyond those instant moments.”
Astutely, it’s divided into six categories: Polaroids of Celebrities, including the likes of Deborah Harry, Grace Jones and Keith Haring; Unique Gelatin Silver Prints, which were of more quotidian everyday objects; his amusingly memorable Photo Booth Strips taken in Times Square in the 1960s; 16mm Film Screen Tests, also from the ’60s, one of which was of tragic “it girl” Edie Sedgwick; Polaroid Collages made for publications like Vogue Paris and the now defunct Italian style mag Mondo Uomo; and ten of his rarely seen, later period stitched photographs, which were first exhibited at New York’s Robert Miller Gallery in 1987, shortly before his untimely death.
“I began collecting these photographs after learning about the camera’s seminal influence within Warhol’s body of work,” reveals Hedges Projects founder James Hedges. “This exhibition provides a scintillating introspective, especially as I consider the stitched photos as an extension of Warhol’s raw self, one that the public has scarcely seen. Virtually every painting, print, and most works on paper began their life as a photo study; the camera was integral to his interactions and his art-making process.”
Andy Warhol: Photo Factory will be on view at Neuehouse Hollywood through July 9. It will travel to Fotografiska New York this fall, and then on to Fotografiska Stockholm and Tallinn in 2022 and 2023, respectively.
All images, © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.