SERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY - PDF Document

Presentation Transcript

  1. SERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY SERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY ments in the 1970’s was the elevation of photography to the age-old tradition of painting. Based on their tremendous suc- cess, his 1960s silkscreens single handedly ushered photography into the fine art arena due to Warhol’s decision to paint using photographic stencils. By Heather Zises Perhaps it is because of his early and most famous successes with hand-executed and appropriated works that Warhol is generally accepted as a painter and a colorist. The wide appeal of his soup cans and silk- screened portraits tended to distract the art world from Warhol’s artistic process, which was a cross-fertilization of painting and photography. Acclaimed art critic and historian David Bourdon comments, “Warhol’s photography, despite its fecun- dity, depth of subject treatment, and for- mal accomplishment, has achieved little critical or public recognition compared with the overwhelming international fasci- nation with his painting, printmaking, and cinema.” After he stopped painting in 1966, Warhol continued his photographic pursuits which involved film and commissioned portrai- ture. In his late work—from 1982 to 1987— Warhol made hundreds of black and white photographs that were stitched together with thread. These works were derivative of his earlier repetitive silkscreen paintings as well as his lifelong immersion with filmmak- ing. Like so many other of his collabora- tions, Warhol appropriated the stitched idea from his studio assistant Christopher Makos. Warhol completed over 500 stitched photograph objects in a five-year span. With each object, the prints over- lapped each other by approximately one half inch, and the stitching occurred one eighth of an inch away from each super- imposed print’s edge. This way, only one print was seen in its entirety, whereas the others had overlapping edges. A majority of the threaded photograph groupings were made from uniform prints, all formally oriented in the same direction and system- atically arranged in the grid. “In the sim- plicity of exactly duplicated prints, Warhol achieves the visual impact of patterning and abstraction through the invocation of his own mantra: ‘make it less arty.’” (William Ganis, Andy Warhol’s Serial Photography, 2004). Warhol did not give any titles to these works, and as a result the renaming of stitched photographs has been a topic of debate. Publications before 1997 gen- erally list the stitched objects as Untitled; proceeding that time the works featured in books or exhibitions have been given titles by curators. One sewn photograph edi- tion, Skeletons (1986-87) is particularly haunting given that they were sent from Warhol to a Swiss art journal to be pub- lished, and they arrived the day after Warhol died in 1987. It was as if Warhol had anticipated his death, and sent a me- mento mori as his acceptance that even he, Andy Warhol, was mortal. Throughout his fine arts career, Warhol em- ployed diverse types of photographic me- dia and imagery. In the early 1960s he ap- propriated printed materials directly from magazines, publicity shots, and newspa- pers for works such as Gold Marilyn Monroe (1962), Lavender Disaster (1963), and Four Jackies (1964). In 1962 Warhol shot still lifes of varied subjects such as Campbell’s Soup cans and Coca Cola bottles for his early paintings. By the late 60s he began ex- perimenting with color photographs. How- ever, Warhol’s silkscreens were still not per- ceived as photographic works, despite their process that involved emulsions, ace- tates, gelatins, negatives and photo- graphic originals. Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, the distinction between art and photography remained strong; the art world re- mained fixed in the tradi- tional no- tion of painting’s superior- ity. Nota- bly, one of Warhol’s ground- breaking achieve- Andy Warhol, Skeletons, 1986- 87. Four gelatin silver prints and thread