Fotografiska New York presents an incredibly comprehensive survey of Warhol’s photographic oeuvre, Andy Warhol: Photo Factory, featuring four films and over 120 images—20 of which have never been exhibited. The show pays homage to Warhol’s iconic New York City studio and offer a distinctly intimate visual diary of the artist’s life and work.
Notably, Warhol’s earliest photographic works is presented, offering a glimpse into his experimentation with the medium and how it served as a catalyst for his early silkscreen paintings, commissioned portraits, and commercial work.
All six categories of Warhol’s film-based work are spectacularly represented, including:
- Polaroid portraits of celebrities, artists, and friends such as Debbie Harry, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Dolly Parton, Grace Jones, Keith Haring, and Giorgio Also among the Polaroids presented are nine works from the Ladies and Gentlemen series of trans women and drag queens Warhol paid to pose for him. The series is most famously known for its inclusion of civil rights icons Marsha P. Johnson and others, but it also includes anonymous women whose portraits offer an intimate lens into their life and times. Additional Polaroids in the show depict inanimate objects and the torsos of nude models.
- Lesser-seen unique gelatin silver prints in which the artist photographed his creative process, friends, and surroundings—including hotel lobbies, room service trays, and other inanimate objects subject to Warhol’s practice of painstakingly documented his social environs.
- Polaroid collages created for publications such as Vogue Paris and Mondo Uomo.
- 16mm film Screen Tests from the mid-1960s.
- Photo booth strips taken in Times Square in the 1960s.
- The artist’s most recent stitched photographs series, his final body of work exhibited before his death in 1987.
A key highlight of the exhibition is the collection of stitched photographs, in which Warhol physically sewed together prints in consecutive grids of 4, 6, and 12 images, incorporating his characteristic use of repetition. Warhol’s final exhibition at Robert Miller Gallery in 1987 featured 90 of his stitched photos, eight of which will be on view.
Additionally, four films (Archie and George with Coca Cola; Lou Reed; Edie Sedgwick and Kipp Stagg; and Freddie’s Last Dance) will be shown throughout the exhibition, stemming from Warhol’s private Screen Tests series. These short, black-and-white film portraits display close-up and intimate shots of subjects from New York’s cultural scene at the time, underlining Warhol’s fascination with photography and the practice of capturing successive moments in time.
The text for Andy Warhol: Photo Factory is authored by curator, writer, and photography critic Vince Aletti, who shares:
Warhol was as restless as he was relentless and shortly after he took up film, he picked up his own cameras: Polaroids and nifty little point-and-shoots. All of Warhol’s silk-screened and painted portraits, both commissioned and otherwise, were based on his Polaroids. His sitters included an ever-changing pantheon of pop celebrities, from Dolly Parton to Keith Haring, Jane Fonda to Pele, as well as a gaggle of New York drag queens and a host of pretty boys only too happy to take their clothes off for the camera.
James R. Hedges, IV, who with Jack Shainman Gallery loaned much of the work on view, says:
I began collecting these photographs after learning about the camera’s seminal influence within Warhol’s body of work. This exhibition provides a scintillating introspective, especially as I consider these lesser-known 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 fact is, Warhol used a camera as part of his daily social interactions over the course of four decades, it was integral to his interactions and his art-making process.
This exhibition is curated by Grace Noh of Fotografiska New York in collaboration with Jessica Jarl of Fotografiska, Jack Shainman Gallery, and James R. Hedges, IV.
Andy Warhol: Photo Factory
10 Sept. 2021 – 23 Jan. 2022
Fotografiska New York
281 Park Avenue South