Original Andy Warhol Photographic Exhibit
On Friday November 5th The MSU Billings Art Department along with the Northcutt Steele Gallery will celebrate a gift from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts with a lecture by Dr. Patricia Vettel-Becker, MSU Billings Art Historian, entitled Warhol 101, a public reception with a gallery talk by Dr. Connie M. Landis, and an Andy Warhol lookalike contest.
In honor of the 20th anniversary of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts based in New York City, 159 original photographs by Andy Warhol were presented to The MSU Billings Department of Art. Now part of the Permanent Collection in connection with the Northcutt Steele Gallery, This gift collection is one aspect of The Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program, an unprecedented opportunity available to educational institutions museums, galleries and art collections across the United States and the MSU Billings Department of Art is the only Montana educational institution to be accepted into the program.
Dr. Connie M. Landis and the MSU Billings Art Department worked with MSU Billings Reference Librarian/Archivist, Eileen Wright, to meet the display and storage archival requirements set by the Warhol Foundation. In addition, the MSU Billings Art Students’ League, through funds from the Eric Robert Anderson Memorial Fund, approved and contributed the funds to cover the cost of meeting the faming requirements outlined by the Warhol Foundation.
Of the 159 total photographs, 105 are Polaroid images and 54 are 8” by 10” black and white silver gelatin photos. The Subject matter of these photographs includes: portraits and figure studies, landscapes, cityscapes, nature close-ups, still lives and loaves of bread and Famous people (Paloma Picasso, Calvin Klein, Diane Von Furstenberg, Jerry Zipkin, Rex Reed, Chris Evert, Robin Leach, Wayne Gretzky, Ron Gould, and Truman Capote) as well as obscure yet nonetheless interesting unidentified “folk” captured by Warhol as he took hundreds of photographs most days of his adult life.
Jenny Moore, curator of the Photographic Legacy Program, selected the photographs for the MSU Billings Special Collection. Moore stated “a wealth of information about Warhol’s process and his interactions with his sitters is revealed in these images. Through his rigorous – though almost unconscious – consistency in shooting, the idiosyncrasies of his subjects were revealed. Often, he would shoot a person or event with cameras, cropping one in Polaroid color as a ‘photograph’ and snapping the other in black and white as a ‘picture.’ By presenting both kinds of images side by side, the Photographic Legacy Program allows viewers to move back and forth between moments of Warhol’s ‘art,’ work,’ and ‘life’ – inseparable parts of a whole.”
Joel Wachs, President of the Warhol Foundation, indicated in the original letter request for institutional participation that the Photographic Legacy Program “will provide greater access to this important body of Warhol’s work, allowing it to be viewed and studied by a broad, diverse public. We are pleased to offer educational institutions the opportunity to bring important Warhol artwork into their permanent collections, or to expand upon the Warhol holdings they might already have.” Over $200 million in cash grants and art donations have been given away during the Foundation’s 20-year lifespan.
As the Foundation looks to the future, Wachs further stated, “The Warhol Foundation will continue to be guided by the vision of its founder and benefactor, whose dying wish was to establish a foundation to advance the visual arts. We will devote our energy and resources to expanding support for artists and arts institutions throughout the country, and hope the Foundation’s accomplishments will inspire others to follow Andy’s visionary lead.”