Andy Warhol and Photography: A Social Media

The Art Gallery of South Australia in Adelaide presents ‘Andy Warhol and Photography: A Social Media’, on view now until 14 May.

The gallery promises to reveal an ‘unseen side’ of the well known Pop artist, with photographs, experimental films and paintings by Warhol. The show will also include the famous Pop Art portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley from the 1960s.

While Warhol was an auteur, we know his as a social practice, and being out was key to capturing his enigmatic images. As he said ‘My idea of a good picture is one that’s in focus and of a famous person doing something unfamous. It’s being in the right place at the wrong time.’ As such we are also treated to art works by Warhol’s collaborators from Christopher Makos to Gerard Malanga, Robert Mapplethorpe, David McCabe, and Duane Michals.  

Image: Oliviero Toscani, Italy, born 1942, Andy Warhol, 1975, New York, pigment print, 32.0 x 46.0 cm (image), 40.0 x 50.0 cm (sheet); Public Engagement Fund 2021, Art Gallery of South Australia, © Oliviero Toscani.

Cheekily the AGSA asks, was Warhol the original “influencer”? Their argument is that “Decades before social media, Warhol’s photography was candid, collaborative and social, attuned to the power of the image to shape his public persona and self-identity.” Nowadays most everyone carries a camera (phone) in their pocket, but Warhol was a vanguard, taking his camera everywhere. As well as ‘verbal memories’ from tape recordings or dictated diaries Warhol also frequently catalogued the small parts of his everyday, from shadows on the pavement and other seemingly inconsequential moments people lived around him, writes Julie Robinson, Senior Curator Prints, Drawings and Photographs AGSA.

Go along to the exhibition and decide for yourself, and in the meantime visit the show’s website where there is an array of intriguing resources from essays to videos and also a curated playlist to complement ‘Andry Warhol and Photography’.