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At RISD, looking through Andy Warhol’s viewfinder

Two photographs from the “Andy Warhol’s Photographs” exhibit at RISD. Left: Joan Collins. Right: Maria Shriver.
Two photographs from the “Andy Warhol’s Photographs” exhibit at RISD. Left: Joan Collins. Right: Maria Shriver.

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Andy Warhol isn’t primarily thought of as a photographer, nor should he be, yet photography was absolutely central to his work.

Photographs helped form Warhol’s artistic sensibility. As a kid he had a Brownie and collected movie publicity stills, and there was the example of his brother managing a photo shop. Note how the job combined art, commerce, and production. Photographs provided the source of many of Warhol’s most famous silk screens. During the ‘70s and ‘80s, he used Polaroid test shots as the basis for the steady stream of celebrity and rich-people portraits that paid the bills. And in that open-filter Warholian way, he constantly—and casually—took photographs just for the sake of taking photographs. In fact, the immense body of work that is the Warhol canon includes more photographs than any other item.

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ANDY WARHOL’S PHOTOGRAPHS and ANDY WARHOL’S SCREEN TESTS

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