Show of Snapshots

November 30, 2009

Turf pros: Jamie Fuqua and Jonathan Nance, top, painstakingly prepare the football field for the opening-day contest against Richmond. Turf pros: Jamie Fuqua and Jonathan Nance, top, painstakingly prepare the football field for the opening-day contest against Richmond.

Turf pros: Jamie Fuqua and Jonathan Nance, top, painstakingly prepare the football field for the opening-day contest against Richmond.

Strike a pose: Warhol’s photos of Grace Jones, Jack Nicklaus, and Rick Ocasek, from top. Courtesy Nasher Museum of Art

Andy Warhol, who reveled in mass-produced art and instant celebrity, was well matched to Polaroid camera as an artistic instrument. An exhibition opening at Duke's Nasher Museum of Art this November aims to explain why that is.

Warhol produced images by the thousands, but most of his Polaroids were never formally exhibited during his lifetime. Nearly 300 such photographs and 100 gelatin silver black-and-white prints, taken by the artist from 1969 to 1986, will be on display.

"Andy Warhol Polaroids" explores an important dimension of Warhol's process; he used the snapshots as aids for painting his famous large-scale portraits. The exhibition will also include a selection of Warhol films from the 1960s to help provide greater context for the photographic work.

The Nasher Museum, the Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro each received a gift of approximately 100 original Polaroids and fifty gelatin silver black-and-white prints from the Andy Warhol Foundation in New York.

The three institutions organized the exhibition collaboratively, a first-time occurrence for the North Carolina-based museums. After making its debut at Duke, the exhibition will travel to the Ackland and then to the Weatherspoon.