The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art received an exceptional gift of Andy Warhol photographs from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Warhol, one of the founders of the Pop Art movement of the 1960s, used photography extensively both to document ideas and record daily events and experiences.
The Warhol gift to the SDMA consists of some 100 color Polaroid prints and 50 black-and-white gelatin silver prints made by Warhol from the 1960s into the 1980s. Donated in honor of the Foundation’s 20th anniversary through the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program, these works come from an archive of more than 60,000 snapshots and polaroids that had accumulated by the time of Warhol’s death in 1987. The SDMA is one of 183 college and university museums across the country that has been selected by the Andy Warhol Foundation to take part in their Photographic Legacy Program, whose mission has been to distribute over 28,000 of these Warhol photographs in order to gain wide public recognition of this little-known, but important, body of work. It also seeks to enrich the scope and depth of the photography collections of the participating institutions. Jenny Moore, curator of the Photographic Legacy Program, was responsible for the selection of these Warhol photographs.
Noted Warhol scholar Reva Wolf of the SUNY New Paltz art history department recently examined the newly-catalogued photographs and commented on their high quality, wide range, and fascinating subject matter. She noted that “the black and white prints range from landscapes to nudes to party pictures, and can be understood as pieces of Warhol’s expansive and riveting visual diary.” The color Polaroids, Wolf observed, are “sketches” for portraits and as such offer important insights into Warhol’s working and thinking processes. In spring 2009, Wolf will teach an upper-level course that will culminate in an exhibition of this group of photographs. She is thrilled that students in the course will have the exciting opportunity to examine at first hand, research, and interpret a largely unstudied group of pictures by a significant artist.