Art Gallery of Ballarat October 24th, 2023
Art Gallery of Ballarat
26 August–22 October
Instant Warhol takes us straight to Andy Warhol’s point of view, famous, fleeting, commercialised, constructed, in a series of his Polaroid photographs of people in the spotlight in the ‘70s and ‘80s. This amazing collection from the Brant Foundation in New York shows us Warhol’s understanding of the superficial nature of celebrity in American society, his obsession with the people behind the personas, and the fleeting nature of fame.
Many of the 56 images show the line and expression of famous faces including Mick Jagger, Liza Minnelli, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton, many of which would later be translated into Warhol’s iconic screen prints.
The instant nature of Polaroid pictures was a fuel that drove Warhol’s exhaustive survey of the world he lived in from 1958 to 1987. From the 70s he used the Big Shot, a Polaroid camera with a rigid body designed for portraits, with a fixed focal distance, which meant the photographer had to physically move backwards and forwards to focus the frame.
In his self-portrait Polaroids, Warhol often exaggerated, transformed, or disguised himself so that the images became caricatures of his real face. Instant Warhol includes some of the last series of self-portraits of Warhol before his death in 1987.
Instant Warhol is a fascinating social document of a time when celebrity, art world grittiness, New York, the Factory, Studio 54 and an expanding media scape were reimagining art, music, and popular culture.
Instant Warhol is a Ballarat International Foto Biennale exclusive and can only be seen during the Festival in Australia.
Image: Andy Warhol, Self-portrait in Drag, 1980 © Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. Artists Rights Society [ARS]/Copyright Agency, 2023.