Andy Warhol photo exhibition explores his public and private lives
The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at the State University of New York at New Paltz will hold an opening reception for “Andy Warhol: Private and Public in 151 Photographs” at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 9, in the Sara Bedrick Gallery of The Dorsky Museum. The exhibition runs from April 10 – July 25 and August 18 – Sept. 26.
This exhibition focuses on Andy Warhol's exploration of the interconnections between private and public life as seen in a group of Polaroid and black and white photographs made by Warhol from 1970 to 1986. The photographs were donated to The Dorsky Museum by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., The Warhol Photographic Legacy Program.
According to Art History Professor Reva Wolf, who has written extensively on Andy Warhol and art and popular culture, the concept for the exhibition was developed by students in the 2009 Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program and Museum Studies courses led by both Wolf and Brian Wallace, curator of The Dorsky Museum. The accompanying student-designed catalogue includes new scholarship by The Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program students.
Wallace explained that he and Wolf developed a plan to teach simultaneous courses that would culminate in a student research-driven exhibition and publication. “This book, the show it documents and explicates, and the various types of student research embodied in both, are the results of this collaboration,” said Wallace.
Mary Hafeli, dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts, said that this exhibition exemplifies the kind of collaborative student-faculty research that New Paltz encourages and celebrates in all of its scholarly and creative disciplines.
“The students selected and researched the photographs and wrote the accompanying essays that appear in the catalogue,” said Hafeli. “Reva Wolf, as editor, guided each student contributor through the demanding standards for writing, re-drafting and polishing that characterizes the professional research and writing practices of art critics, museum curators and art historians.”
Wolf, who is the author of “Andy Warhol, Poetry, and Gossip in the 1960s” (Chicago, 1997), said that photography was central to Warhol. As a young boy, he began both to take and to collect pictures. However, the bulk of Warhol’s activity as a maker of photographs occurred in the 1970s and 1980s, during the second half of his artistic career. The photographs in the Dorsky Museum’s collection date to this later period. Wolf explained that Warhol played a significant role in the rise in status of photography, with his incorporation of photo-silkscreen into painting. He also later echoed this rise in status in his prolific Polaroid and black and white photographic work of the 1970s and 1980s.
“As if to leave unsettled the question of whether photography is art, Warhol passed on to us a huge collection of photographs, including the ones featured here, that had remained in his possession up to his death (1987), and that it is now up to us to categorize,” said Wolf. “Just as Warhol favored mixing up private and public, he also intermingled art and archive. As one becomes the other, the resulting disorder raises questions and challenges us—and for this we are grateful.”
In addition to the exhibition, The Dorsky will present a gallery talk by photographer and Warhol Factory denizen Billy Name at 3 p.m., Thursday, April 29, in the Sara Bedrick Gallery.
Name, originally from Poughkeepsie and residing there now, lived in and documented Warhol's studio, the Factory, during the 1960s through his work as the "official" Factory photographer. In addition to his continued work as a photographer, Name has had numerous appearances in Warhol documentaries. His work was also included in the Max's Kansas City exhibition in Copenhagen in 2004, the Andy Warhol birthday exhibit at the Shoreham Hotel in New York in August 2005 and the "Bande à part" exhibition in Paris in 2005.
In the fall, The Dorsky will host a panel discussion with Jenny Moore, project curator, Warhol Photographic Legacy Program; Neil Printz, co-author of the catalogue raisonné of Warhol’s paintings and sculpture; and Shelley Rice, photography historian, critic and arts professor at New York University at 6 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 23.
Suggested admission to The Dorsky Museum is $5. For more event details, reservations, accessibility or directions, visit www.newpaltz.edu/museum or call (845) 257-3844. The Dorsky Museum is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
Support for this exhibition, catalogue, and panel discussion has been provided by the Academic Year Undergraduate Research Experience Award; Office of the Dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts; Povost Donald and Sandy Christian; Eugene Heath; Cynthia ('76) and Stephen Johnson; Sally and William B. Rhoads; Barbara ('87) and Robert Strangfeld; and an anonymous donor. The Friends of the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art and the State University of New York at New Paltz provide ongoing support for the Museum's exhibitions and programs.