New York Photo Review
Volume 3 Issue 14 April 17 to 24, 2012

Celebrities, Urinals and Famous People
Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol: Photographer
Don Burmeister
Keith Haring and Dolly Parton by Andy Warhol. Source:
Andy Warhol, "Keith Haring and Dolly Parton" 1985

It has been a full year since the last Andy Warhol photography show in New York, so it was good to see this most eminently bankable artist is still eminently bankable. Unlike previous shows (Andy Warhol: Polaroids of Sports Champions and Big Shots: Andy Warhol Polaroids of Celebrities) this show has Polaroids of both Sports Champions and Celebrities. But more interestingly, the show also includes a number of (seemingly) more personal and exploratory black and white images shot with a 35mm point and shoot camera.

Not that celebrities didn’t enter into this batch as well. The single standout image of the show is a front-on snap of Keith Haring with his arm around Dolly Parton! As the master himself reportedly said "My idea of a good picture is one that's in focus and of a famous person." Two thumbs up here.

Celebrities were his obsession, although the black and whites give other insights into Warhol’s thinking and approach. He was a bit of a collector and cataloguer. We see several similar pictures of urinals, several pictures of young men’s butts, several of liquor bars at private events. Essentially notes or experiments, a few have a “©Andy Warhol” embossed stamp on them, perhaps indicating that they were meant to be final products.

Man Ray by Andy Warhol. Source:
Andy Warhol, "Man Ray"

Finally, there are simple snapshots of places and events. The only memorable one, to this reviewer, was an outline of a heart stamped into a snow bank, with Warhol’s lover, Jon Gould, walking away to one side.

Would any of these more personal photographs merit being shown if they were taken by your uncle Irving? No. How about the celebrity photographs? Let’s face it, your Uncle Irving could never have gotten that close. Whatever the limitations were of Andy Warhol as a photographer, he had that one paramount ingredient needed by all photographers of the rich and famous – access. Eat your heart out Ron Galella.

Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol: Photographer

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