Big Shots: Andy Warhol Polaroids provided insight into the artist who sought to capture the world with his camera. The exhibition included about 250 Polaroids and 70 silver gelatin black-and-white prints taken by Warhol from 1970 to 1987, many of them on public view for the first time.
Big Shots revealed an important dimension of Warhol’s process in creating his famous large-scale portraits. Although his Polaroids served as aids for painting portraits, in and of themselves they are significant works and represent a relatively unknown body of Warhol’s work. At the Nasher Museum, the exhibition included his portraits of Patsy, Andrea, Joan and Nancy Nasher, accompanied by the original Polaroid studies. A selection of Warhol films from the 1960s was also part of the exhibition, to help provide greater context for the photographic work.
The exhibition was organized by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University; the Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and the Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Greensboro. All three institutions received gifts of about 100 original Polaroid photographs and 50 gelatin silver black-and-white prints in 2008 from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in celebration of the foundation’s 20th anniversary. Trevor Schoonmaker, curator of contemporary art, co-organized the exhibition, which opened at the Nasher Museum and travelled to the Ackland and the Weatherspoon.
At the Nasher Museum, the exhibition was supported by McKinney.
TOP: Andy Warhol, Grace Jones, 1984. Polacolor ER, 4 1/4 x 3 3/8 inches. Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Gift of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. © 2009 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.