Andy Warhol, Carolina Herrera, November 1978.

Spotlight Series Gallery Talk: Andy Warhol's Photographs

May 12, 2010
Kemper Art Museum

Speaker: Karen K. Butler, assistant curator
Subject: Andy Warhol's Photographs from the 1970s and 1980s

Andy Warhol is well known for his silkscreen portraits of celebrities, such as Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley, and reproductions of consumer goods, such as the Campbell's soup cans and Brillo boxes, which comment on the way that celebrity and commodity culture manufacture identity and desire in the postwar era.  Warhol's photographs, on the other hand, are less well known.  From the late 1960's on, Warhol was never without a 35mm camera, recording people at social events, parties, and clubs, as well as many of his ordinary daily interactions.  In the 1970's, he began to use a Polaroid Big Shot camera to take small, instant photos of sitters, which became the basis for large silkscreen portraits.  In 2008, the Kemper Art Museum received a generous donation of Warhol's Polaroids and black-and-white prints from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.  This Spotlight talk examines the role that these photographs played in Warhol's work from the 1970's and 1980's, in particular the manner in which they reveal the artist's engagement with larger questions of gender, identity, and pop culture.

Gallery talks at the Kemper Art Museum—led by a curator, educator, faculty member, or graduate student—provide deeper analysis and exploration of a selected work or artist from the Museum's permanent collection or current special exhibition. The talks give visitors the opportunity to learn about, look closely at, and engage in meaningful discussions about current and historical issues relating to the visual arts Talks focusing on objects in the permanent collection are part of the Museum's Spotlight series, which includes in-depth scholarly essays available online.