The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has announced an unprecedented gift of the work of legendary artist Andy Warhol (1928-1987), a central figure in the American movement of Pop Art, and a major influence in avant-garde music, film, and photography. In honor of its 20th anniversary the Foundation is distributing 28,543 original Warhol photographs valued in excess of $28 million through the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has been selected to participate in this program. Jenny Moore, Warhol Foundation Curator, said in the spring of 2008 UTC will receive 100 Polaroid photographs and 50 silver gelatin prints, all original works by Warhol and specially selected to complement the University’s current collection holdings. While the monetary value of the gift to UTC is yet to be determined, its aesthetic value to the UTC Permanent Collection of Art, the campus, and the Chattanooga community is beyond estimate.
“A wealth of information about Warhol’s process and his interactions with his sitters is revealed in these images,” Moore says. “Through his rigorous – though almost unconscious – consistency in shooting, the true idiosyncrasies of his subjects are revealed. Often, he would shoot a person or event with both cameras, cropping one in Polaroid color as a ‘photograph’ and snapping the other in black and white as a ‘picture.’ By presenting both kinds of images side by side, the Photographic Legacy Program allows viewers to move back and forth between moments of Warhol’s ‘art,’ ‘work,’ and ‘life’ – inseparable parts of a fascinating whole.”
According to Warhol Foundation President Joel Wachs, the aim of the Photographic Legacy Program is to provide greater access to Warhol’s artwork and process, and to enable a wide range of people from communities across the country to view and study this important yet relatively unknown body of Warhol’s work. The program offers
qualifying institutions the opportunity to bring a significant number of photographs into their permanent collections.
This bequest will join with the work of other internationally known artists currently in the UTC/Cress Gallery of Art Permanent Collection. The artists, all from Warhol’s era, include Robert Motherwell, Josef Albers, Dieter Roth, Herbert Bayer, John Piper, Varda Chryssa, Patrick Caulfield, and John Hoyland. The UTC Permanent Collection also contains work by important regional artists from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s such as Carl Holty, Lamar Dodd, Frank Baisden, Lillian Feinstein, Hubert Shuptrine, Edward Shorter, and Leonard Baskin. It also includes the work of artists with strong ties to Chattanooga and still expanding reputations such as painter George Cress and printmaker/illustrator Barry Moser. Recently the Department of Art/Cress Gallery was given an extensive collection of work from the creative life of mid-20th century designer and illustrator and the former head of the Department of Art, Weimar Pursell, and has assumed a collection of photographic work from the 1960s and 1970s by former Chattanoogan, now New York-based photographer Rosalind Solomon. The Department of Art/Cress Gallery also holds a collection of over 50 significant posters representing the work seminal contemporary graphic designers such as Art Chantry, Massimo Vignelli, Ivan Chermayeff, Paul Rand, and Herb Lubalin. Other recent acquisitions and loans of art of major importance will soon be announced.
The Warhol gift to UTC underscores and signifies its Permanent Collection of Art which contains portions of the legacies of a growing number of artists in an archival repository that serves as an educational resource, according to Ruth Grover, UTC Director and Curator of Galleries, Exhibitions, and Collections. She eagerly anticipates the arrival of the Warhol collection.
“These photographs will be not be matted nor framed, but protectively stored in portfolios and available by appointment to individuals and small groups for ‘white glove’ study,” Grover said. “As they are photographs, care must be taken to limit their exposure to light and protect them from fingerprints and dust. Yet to experience this work, directly in hand, is an intimate and provocative opportunity. After the Warhol collection is assessed to determine how it may best be safely yet openly displayed, I am most excited to begin plans for short term public exhibitions of the work.”
During the twenty-year life of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Foundation has provided individual artists and arts institutions a total of more than $200 million in competitive grants guided by the vision of its founder and benefactor, Andy Warhol, whose dying wish was to bequest his estate towards the advancement of the visual arts.