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Andy Warhol
at Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, Arizona
Recommendation by Deborah Ross

Continuing through August 6, 2011

Part of what catapulted Andy Warhol into the celebrity whirl was his obsession with using audiotapes and photographs to journal about the people, places and things in his life - from the mundane to the glitzy. "Andy Warhol: Who, What, Where" is a glimpse into his colorful life as well as an opportunity for Arizona State University to show off a sampling of the 155-photograph donation it received from the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program (more than 28,000 of Warhol's photos were donated to U.S. universities and schools).
This small exhibit offers everything from still lifes, such as "Chair" to stark portraits such as "Mother Goose," which comes from Warhol's "Myths" project of 1981. All of the photos are black-and-white Polaroids or gelatin silver prints, most likely shot with a small, automatic camera for easily capturing those moments.
And what a time it was in Warhol's heyday. The candid photos include people such as: Maria Narchos, daughter of the Greek shipping tycoon; Nancy North, a Halston model; Phyllis George, the former Miss America; and Jon Gould, the movie executive thought to be Warhol's last live-in boyfriend. Grouped together on a kind of "pretty boy" wall are casual or party shots of Rex Smith (1981), the hunky actor and pop star; Ron Duguay (1982), the New York Rangers hockey player; and Ulrick Trojaborg, who worked for the New York City Ballet. As for the stories behind the photos, it's up to the viewers to fill in the blanks. For instance, a shot of Christopher Makos, a Warhol friend and his personal photographer, stepping out of an elevator, smiling and wearing a plaid suit and tropical shirt, piques curiosity as to when, where and why.
Warhol is said to have snapped as many as two rolls of film a day, beginning in the mid-1970s. Some of his photos were the basis for paintings. In any event, he approached his subjects with ease; probably the camera sparked conversation. Perhaps the exhibit makes the case that Warhol understood what social networking and citizen journalism were all about way before the Facebook era.

Arizona State University Art Museum

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