Andy Warhol - Still Life Polaroids, 1977-1983
Famous for his contributions to Pop Art, Warhol used photography as an integral part of his art making process. He referred to his Polaroid Big Shot camera, which he purchased in 1970, as his “pencil and paper.” The Polaroid prints, instantaneously tangible records of the transitory, served as subjects for Warhol’s drawings, silkscreens, and paintings.
Meticulous arrays of bananas, knives, and crosses contrast with jumbled assemblages of shoes and other commercial products, including Warhol’s iconic soup cans and Brillo boxes. Warhol often deploys multiplication and varying degrees of order to alter and enliven quotidian objects. In other compositions, such as a single gray human heart presented on a vibrant red plate, individual subjects in the picture frame gain potency in isolation. Recurrent themes of desire, consumption, and mortality run throughout. The rarity of these works, coupled with the dwindling production of Polaroid film, dually capture a specific time in both Warhol’s practice and the history of photography. [Paul Kasmin Gallery]