New York’s Museum of Modern Art is partnering with the Andy Warhol Museum to digitise the artist’s considerable archive of film work, making work available to the public that has rarely, if ever, been seen before.
The massive task, featuring around 500 films, will take several years to complete. It involves taking over a thousand rolls of 16mm film and scanning them frame by frame, coverting them to the high-resolution 2K format. This is work that Warhol filmed between 1963 and 1972, the most intense and celebrated period of his creativity.
It was in these years that he filmed his coterie of beautiful muses in his Factory studio, including Edie Sedgwick and Nico, and made a series of extremely intimate silent film works – whose titles are as minimal as the action within.
In Sleep, he filmed artist John Giorno sleeping, while Kiss depicts couples kissing, and Eat shows fellow pop artist Robert Indiana eating a mushroom. The Haircut series features highly stylised shots of hair styling, while Empire is a six and a half hour shot of the Empire State Building at night, its lights flicking on and off. Blow Job and Hand Job meanwhile show men receiving the respective sex acts, with the acts themselves going on out of shot and the camera focusing on the subjects’ faces.
Dennis Hopper appears dressed in a loincloth in one ramshackle and witty film, Tarzan and Jane Regained, Sort Of, while Warhol made a kind of proto-music video in work starring The Velvet Underground. David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Yves San Laurent and others appeared in his Factory Diaries series, and he even made feature-length work like Chelsea Girls.
This isn’t the only recent success in digitally converting Warhol’s work – a cache of artworks he made for the Amiga 1000 computer in 1985 were recently resurrected by students working with digital artist Cory Arcangel.
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