Friday, March 7, 2014

15 Minutes

One of the great surprises of my new position at Columbia is that there is such a vast array of works in the Art Properties collection that I'm often surprised what I may be working on. Take, for instance, the photography of Andy Warhol (1928-1987). I certainly would never claim to be a specialist on Warhol's work, but I can certainly recognize aspects of glamour, celebrity, and fame that his photographs conjure up for viewers. His famous phrase "In the future everyone will be world famous for fifteen minutes" clearly continues to resonate in our fame-obsessed world today, from reality TV to Twitter and YouTube. His Polaroids and black-and-white prints are visual evidence of his own attempt not only to apotheosize the mundane and unknown, but exploit the famous for their glam as sham.

On April 4, 2014, Columbia University will hold a 1-day exhibition (curated by me!) of photographs by Warhol and host a public program of talks about Warhol's legacy and the cult of fame, fashion, portraiture, and so on. Our keynote speaker is the Swiss-born contemporary artist Urs Fischer, and there will be a round-table discussion by Warhol specialists: Neil Printz, Blake Gopnik, Larissa Harris, and Tom Kalin. As for the exhibition of his photographs, why only 1 day? It's in the spirit of his "15 minutes" of fame ideology...present for the moment, gone before you know it. This program is a joint venture between my department, the School of the Arts, the Wallach Art Gallery, the Art History & Archaeology Dept., and sponsored by the Brant Foundation Art Study Center. For more information and to RSVP, go to And follow news at the collection, exhibition, and program on Twitter and other social networks, #WarholColumbia.

Image Credit: Andy Warhol, © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Princess Caroline of Monaco, 1983, Polacolor ER, Art Properties, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University in the City of New York, Gift of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts (2008.6.18).

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