Andy Warhol and his Polaroid Big Shot photos

One of the most powerful tools of an artist is/was the Polaroid camera. And few used it as powerfully as Andy Warhol. He shot endlessly, with the Polaroids serving as the basis for his portraits, silk-screen paintings, drawings, and prints.

From 1970 to 1987 Andy Warhol took scores of Polaroid and black-and-white photographs, the vast majority of which were never seen by the public. 

In 2007 the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts launched the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program. The program donated over 28,500 of Warhol’s original Polaroids and gelatin silver prints to more than 180 college and university museums and galleries across the country. Each institution received a curated selection of over one hundred Polaroids and fifty black-and-white prints.

Now through May 20, 2012 the University of California Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is presenting selected Polaroids drawn from its collection. Seen together, the Polaroids "destabilize the iconic status that a Warhol image assumes when displayed singly." according to the museum, "On its own, a Polaroid image is fully identified with the artwork that ultimately grew out of it; the face depicted becomes a kind of signifier for larger cultural concepts of beauty, power, and worth." 

The collection includes the famous, the infamous, and the unknown; from Diane von Furstenberg, O.J. Simpson and the everyday people in Warhol's world. And, quite a world it was.

Go to the museum website for more details.

Warhol in drag, in Polaroid

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