Australia’s first exhibition exploring Andy Warhol’s obsession with photography will open at the Art Gallery of South Australia in March, as part of the 2023 Adelaide Festival. Exclusive to Adelaide, Andy Warhol & Photography: A Social Media will reveal a never-before-seen side of the famous pop artist through more than 250 works, spanning photographs, experimental films, screen prints and paintings.
Decades before social media, Warhol’s photography was candid, collaborative and social, sensitive to the power of the image to shape his public persona and identity. A Social Media offers a fresh perspective on the influential entertainer, as well as behind-the-scenes glimpses into his own life and the lives of friends and celebrities including Muhammad Ali, Bob Dylan, Debbie Harry, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Liza Minelli, Lou Reed and Elizabeth Taylor.
Headlining the Adelaide Festival 2023 visual arts programme, A Social Media brings together works from national and international collections, as well as AGSA’s extensive collection of 45 Warhol photographs which will be presented together for the first time.
AGSA Director Rhana Devenport ONZM says: “Some 35 years after his death, this exhibition is testament to Andy Warhol’s enduring relevance as an artist and cultural figure in an era defined by social media. With cross-generational appeal, this is an exhibit of our times that begs the question, was Warhol the original influencer? »
Revealing Warhol in front of and behind the camera, the exhibition will also feature works by his photographic collaborators and creative contemporaries such as Brigid Berlin, Nat Finkelstein, Christopher Makos, Gerard Malanga, Robert Mapplethorpe, Duane Michals and Billy Name. A social network will also feature iconic Warhol paintings never before seen in Adelaide, including his famous 1960s Pop Art portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley, demonstrating how Warhol translated many of his photographs into paintings and screen prints.
Julie Robinson, Senior Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs of the AGSA and Curator of A Social Media, says: “Photography underpinned all of Warhol’s artistic practice – both as an essential part of his method of work and as an end in its own right. He took some 60,000 photographs during his lifetime. His candid images, which capture his own life as well as the lives of his famous friends, offer audiences an eye-opening glimpse into Warhol the person, taking viewers under the veneer of his paintings and pop figures.
Speaking at the AGSA exhibition announcement, Henry Gillespie, Australia’s editor of Warhol Interview magazine from 1985 to 1989, and one of only two Australians to be invited to sit down for a portrait of Warhol, said: “I am delighted that the Art Gallery of South Australia will present an exhibition on Andy Warhol and his photography.
“Andy always carried a camera and took it out occasionally to record something or someone. It was a memory aid. In preparation for a portrait, he would shoot a roll of Polaroid film and lay out the images on a table, asking the subject which one he liked best and focusing on what he considered the “perfect shot” for the screen print. Andy’s portrayal was his way of giving prominent members of his audience a promise of immortality.
Adelaide Festival Artistic Director Ruth Mackenzie CBE said: “It is exciting to work with AGSA to explore the groundbreaking work of Andy Warhol that speaks so immediately to everyone. Now more than ever, with the popularity of social media, Warhol’s idea of 15 Minutes of Fame is incredibly relevant and this exhibit will be a staple during next year’s festival season.
The exhibition opens at the AGSA as part of the 2023 Adelaide Festival on March 3, 2023 and will run until May 14, 2023. Tickets are now on sale at agsa.sa.gov.au.