By Phil Dzikiy
"In the future, everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes.”
That’s the actual quote, as Castellani Art Museum Curator Michael Beam points out.
Beam was speaking, of course, about Andy Warhol and his take on fame, as the Castellani Art Museum is now featuring a new exhibition of Warhol’s work — “Andy Warhol: A Photographic Legacy.”
Warhol was an artist in many mediums, though he’s best known as a leading innovator in pop art. The Castellani’s newest exhibition will feature a few of the museum’s collected Warhol pieces, but the main draw is the newly acquired group of photographs from Warhol’s personal collection.
“Warhol was really sort of the ultimate voyeur,” Beam said. “He was just sort of a sideline guy and documented it. His photographs became his diary.”
The museum has received 158 original Warhol Polaroid photographs and silver prints from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts — the Castellani is one of more than 160 college and university museums to receive photographs from the foundation. About 75 of the Castellani’s photos will be on display at one time, Beam said.
About two-thirds of the Castellani’s new Warhol photo collection is made up of Polaroids, while the rest are black and white candid shots, featuring images of “everything from fire hydrants to storefronts,” Beam said.
Just as Warhol was obsessed with taking pictures and documenting life, he was also famously obsessed with celebrity.
“He was one of the first artists to become a celebrity for the sake of celebrity,” Beam said. “He really pioneered the idea of artist as celebrity.”
And so, it’s fitting that so many of the Polaroid photographs the Castellani received feature celebrities. Photos of Carly Simon, John Denver, Liza Minnelli, Diane Lane, Ronald Reagan Jr. and Steve Rubell are all featured in the exhibition.
These photos capture the celebs, and a fair share of less famous folks — there are a number of unidentified subjects in the photos — in seemingly quiet, personal moments.
Warhol’s thoughts on the nature of fame have become quite sage in recent years, Beam said.
“That whole statement about 15 minutes of fame is so true nowadays,” he said, discussing reality TV “stars.” “These people are famous, but they’re not really famous for anything.”
Warhol’s photo-taking habits — “he was just taking pictures all the time of everything” — are also indicative of a man working before his time, considering how many younger generations now document everything by taking digital photos and posting them online.
Beam believes that for Warhol, art and business were intertwined.
“He was very wealthy and famous for his advertising career in the 50s,” Beam said. “He got into art because he figured it’d be easier to make money. I almost feel like he sort of fell into it, which is great.
“Nowadays, he exists in merchandising. I think that’s fine ’cause merchandising is the way it goes now. He was sort of ahead of the game.”
The museum is also hosting its annual gala based around the Warhol exhibition. The gala, “15 Minutes of Fame! The Andy Warhol Experience,” takes place Oct. 17.
So if Warhol was so far ahead of his time, would his time be now? Beam reckons so.
“If Warhol was coming into his own today, in 2009, I don’t think he’d be seen as quite so weird, or strange or obsessive,” Beam said.
Whatever the time, the Castellani is now the place to get a glimpse into Warhol’s world.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: "Andy Warhol: A Photographic Legacy"
WHEN: Through Jan. 31 (Open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday)
WHERE: The Castellani Art Museum, Niagara University
MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.niagara.edu/cam or call 286-8286; admission is free
By Phil Dzikiy
LIFESTYLE: Make art part of Syracuse trip
I am not an art critic. I can’t pick out a Renoir from a Michelangelo to save my life, nor can I even define what the Impressionist period is.
But I know what I like. And I like the Everson Museum of Art.
- ART: The NACC presents Holiday Extravaganza, "Artists and Friends" Rachel Schiff was hanging her jewel-toned paintings in the Garden Gallery, admiring the soft light coming in from the giant windows and the beautiful marble floors.
- MUSIC: The songs (and paintings) of Ron Hawkins A lot of things have changed since Ron Hawkins was on the stage at Gateway Harbor in North Tonawanda in 2006.
- ART: Buffalo Society of Artists show hits Kenan Center The Buffalo Society of Artists is reaching out.
- ART: Warhol photo collection comes to Castellani "In the future, everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes.”
- ART: The Lewiston Art Festival In nearly every way, the Lewiston Art Festival is growing.
- LIFESTYLE: 'Body Worlds' challenges the mind, heart The “Body Worlds” exhibit was created as a vehicle for science, but it has stirred up emotions of a far different sort in pretty much every city that it’s visited.
- ART: NACC goes "Beyond the Barrel" The Niagara Arts and Cultural Center typically opens its “Beyond the Barrel” art exhibition at the end of June, but this year presented an opportunity that NACC staff couldn’t pass up.
- ART: 100 American Craftsmen descend on Lockport There will be art you can wear, art you can clean with and art you can drink from.
- ART: Jed Jackson returns for exhibit Thus, while the campus rocks this weekend, the Castellani will present the opening of “JED: 30 Years of Painting by Jed Jackson.”
- More Art Headlines
- LIFESTYLE: Make art part of Syracuse trip I am not an art critic. I can’t pick out a Renoir from a Michelangelo to save my life, nor can I even define what the Impressionist period is.