Tonawanda News


August 27, 2009

ART: Warhol photo collection comes to Castellani

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.

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