Despite the brisk trade in his paintings and screen prints, at his core, Andy Warhol was probably more photographer than anything else he put his inimitable talent to. And during this year's Frieze Los Angeles, that will be thrillingly, revealingly on display.
Indeed, on view at The Future Perfect's Casa Perfect, will be some of Andy's most fascinating, diaristic images, from the personal cache of noted Warhol collector Jim Hedges. But perhaps most exciting will be the showing of never-before-seen short films, which exhibit a more personal, intimate side of the King of Pop Art.
The Future Perfect itself is a unique space in New York City's Noho, blurring the line between gallery and design showcase - it has introduced such talents as Lindsey Adelman and Chris Wolston, while also collaborating with international avant-garde designers the likes of Dimore Studio and Piet Hein Eek. Its LA "outpost" Casa Perfect is intended as a roving residential gallery, currently housed at Trousdale Estates, once home to Elvis Presley.
Future Perfect founder David Alhadeff enthuses, "For the first time, we are showing 'blue-chip' historical art. And it couldn't be more 'perfect' to showcase Warhol at Elvis Presley's former home, given Andy's affinity for celebrity, pop-culture and Hollywood. The context is as much a part of the installation as the installation itself."
The exhibition will be open by appointment this week, with Frieze LA officially kicking off on the 15th. In the meantime, we caught up with Hedges for a quick chat about Warhol and the collection.
How did you come across the images and footage?
I began collecting Warhol photos in the late 1990s and have amassed the largest private collection of his photographic oeuvre since that time. I’ve collected across all photographic medium with which he worked: Polaroids, unique silver gelatin prints, stitched photos, photo booth strips, and films.
How is it that they have never been shown before?
To clarify, the photos have been exhibited before from the Grand Palais in Paris to Hong Kong and many places between. It is the films that have never been seen before, simply because I’ve chosen to keep them private since acquiring the work from Warhol editor and diarist Pat Hackett, who had them in her private collection since the 1960s.
What are some of the highlights?
Seeing films which have never before been seen by any collectors is truly a once-in-lifetime opportunity. As for the photos, some of my personal favorites include the Ladies & Gentlemen series of portraits of drag queens, as well as some of Warhol’s unique silver gelatin prints of Hollywood royalty like Joan Collins, Ginger Rodgers, Farrah Fawcett and Elizabeth Taylor.
What is revealed about Warhol through the images and footage?
It’s fair to say that all of Warhol is revealed through his photographic work. Photos, whether appropriated or taken by the artist, were the source material for all his fine art work. Polaroids became studies for prints and paintings. Unique silver gelatin prints documented the artist’s life day by day for a period of ten years, from 1977 until his death in 1987. The films, some of which are ’screen tests,’ were the germinal seeds of his long-format filmmaking career and collaborations.