July 10 – August 22, 2008
Michael Kohn Gallery is pleased to present “Photographs,” an exhibition by Andy Warhol. While Warhol is generally known for his silkscreen paintings, this show underscores the important role that photography played in both the development of the artist’s trademark medium as well as his philosophy towards art in general. This comprehensive sampling of photographs is a chronicle of the artist’s life and interactions, where we are offered the rare opportunity to see things as Warhol saw them.
Warhol once stated, “I told them I didn’t believe in art, that I believed in photography.” What photography offered to Warhol was a non-unique image with the ability to be reproduced an infinite number of times. Repetition and reproduction, transforming the extraordinary into the mundane, and vice versa, became important themes for the artist. These fundamental elements of photography translated well into Warhol’s famous silkscreen paintings as the artist depicted cultural icons as though looking through the cold, objective lens of a camera.
The selected works were shot during the last ten years of his life, between 1976 and 1987, and are representative of Warhol’s fixation on everyday life and objects. This body of work is the result of Warhol’s photographic practice of documenting his interactions with the city and its objects as he moved through and around them. His photographs, a collection of commonplace, random, and ephemeral objects, provide us with traces of life, however banal, in the urban landscape.
For Warhol, the camera served as a tool for the artist’s mental scrapbook of everyday objects. Warhol made mundane objects such as signs, statues, and bridges the focus of his photographs. As though he were a documentarian of everyday life, Warhol continues to shock the viewer with his ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary.