Famous for 15: From Andy Warhol to Your Camera-Phone
In the future everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes. --Andy Warhol
This exhibition examines the phenomenon of photo-based fame through Andy Warhol’s practice and the modern parallel of camera-phone photographs. Warhol’s obsession with going out every night—he called it a social disease—was marked by an equally urgent drive to photograph the celebrities and near celebrities that made up New York’s social scene. His practice is echoed in our modern use of the camera-phone. The ubiquitous camera-phone instant portraits, instant results, and, with the ability to share images via text messages and social networking sites, instant “celebrity.” Technology has made everyone’s allotted fifteen minutes more within reach than ever. And perhaps, as Warhol suggested,made the category of celebrity even more unstable.
Andy Warhol, one of the most influential and celebrated artists of the 20th century, blurred the line between high art and the visual culture of modern consumer society. Fascinated by the concept of celebrity, he explored the framework and conditions of fame in both his work and personal life. His portrait photographs encapsulate his most quoted statement about fame. By posing for Warhol, his subjects became instant celebrities. Yet Warhol undercut the trappings of the celebrity photo-shoot by shooting informally with amateur cameras like the Polaroid Big Shot and the auto-focus Minox. Ultimately, his photographs call into question the concept of fame by highlighting its wide accessibility.
The exhibition features selections from a major gift of photographs by the Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts through the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program.
I invite you to create your own celebrity culture by submitting your camera-phone photographs to FamousFor15.CameraPhone@picasaweb.com.
Carrie Dedon (PO ’10),
Kilsby Museum Intern