Andy Warhol: Motion Pictures. @ KW ICA, Berlin, 2004
May 8 – August 8, 2004
Curator: Mary Lea Bandy
In the summer of 2004, the main exhibition space at KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin housed a painting gallery-style display of fourteen framed pictures, mostly portraits. The images were either five, six, or seven feet tall, and most of them depicted the silent, slow moving, black-and-white filmic portrait of a person. They were an exhibition of Andy Warhol’s black-and-white silent films, conceived and curated by the Museum of Modern Art’s Chief Curator of Film and Media, Mary Lea Bandy. The images on display seemed to link the classical museum portrait gallery with the early days of motion pictures.
For the viewer, it was an uncannily intimate experience to stand in between these large-scale images of human faces
Andy Warhol was fascinated by the image, aura, and beauty of stardom. He was fascinated by the dream factories of Hollywood. With the invention of cinema, images of the human face grew to monumental dimensions, allowing “larger-than-life” depictions of stars in motion. Where had one ever before been able to see a realistic representation of a face the size of a whole person?
— Klaus Biesenbach, Artistic Director, KW ICA, Berlin
Just as Warhol chose cartons of consumer products – unembellished with painterly “art brushstrokes” – for his paintings, thus producing “anti-painting”… The Screen Tests… have always struck me as being anti-filmic. They lack the three standard components of filmmaking: talented acting, snappy cinematography, and a well-written script. Not only do the Screen Tests have none of these normally constituent parts, not a single one, they revel in the diametrically opposite modus of the “anti-film.”
— Thomas Sokolowski, Director, The Andy Warhol Museum
Among Warhol’s motion pictures, the black-and-white silent works of 1963-1966 are a dazzling experiment, daring and original in their selection of subject and theme, psychological acuity, rhythmic pacing, and sheer beauty of form photographed with stark lighting or deep shadow…
We will not easily become “post-Warhol” any time soon.
–Mary Lea Bandy, Chief Curator of Film & Media, MOMA NYC
The films, Factory mementos, were excuses to populate the loft with personalities: thus he could lure incandescent weirdos (as potential actors) to his lair. By staging a spatial artwork – the Factory, a workshop for miscommunication, tableaux vivants, exhibitionism, hysteria – and ensuring that it was well documented by photographers, Warhol proved that his core love was not the two-dimensional art of paper and canvas but the three-or-more-dimensional medium of performance.
— Wayne Koestenbaum, Professor of English, CUNY
I would love to have seen this exhibit… Thanks for sharing.
Yes! As I mentioned in the Strawberry Singh Screen Test:
I think this is a truly ideal presentation. The frames provide such a nice context. And by having a gallery full of projections you’re able to curate by walking… perhaps passing briefly over one… perhaps remaining for a long time at another. I think it allows a very rich experience without being a difficult experience.