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Whitney Gives Warhol Film Archive To MOMA

Andy Warhol, Outer and Inner Space, 1965. © 2021 The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, a museum of the Carnegie Institute.

The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, has announced that it will transfer its massive research archive pertaining to the films of Andy Warhol to the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The announcement coincides with the Whitney’s publication this week of a second volume of a catalogue raisonné of Warhol’s films, spanning the years 1963–65. (The first volume, published by the Whitney in 2006 and authored by the late Callie Angell, focused on the artist’s Screen Tests, made between 1963 and 1968.)

The Warhol Film Archive, which includes manuscripts and archival media collected during the process of the first catalogue raisonné’s creation, was launched by curator John G. Hanhardt, who came to the Whitney as head of film and video in 1974, four years after Warhol withdrew all his films from distribution and thus from the public eye. Since 1984, the Whitney has collaborated with MoMA in researching and cataloguing Warhol’s cinematic output; the two institutions have been supported in this endeavor by Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Museum. In shifting the archive to MoMA, the Whitney will “ensure that information about his groundbreaking and now-iconic films will remain accessible to scholars,” said Whitney director Adam Weinberg.

The latest volume of the catalogue raisonné investigates landmark films such as 1964’s Blow Job, Eat, and Empire, and also reveals interesting details about lesser-known films, such as Steve Holden Drunk and David Bourdon Being Beaten, both from the same year, and offers blow-by-blow chronicles of the works, including a mesmerizing and lengthy account of a banana nearly being eaten (Banana, 1964). In addition to critical analysis and detailed descriptions of the films, the volume offers a plethora of stills and behind-the-scenes photos, as well as essays examining Warhol’s methods and influences, and his relationships with his actors.

“The publication of this second volume is immensely important,” said Weinberg. “The Whitney’s ongoing efforts to document, research and study Warhol’s remarkable film works—along with the preservation and digitization initiatives of the MoMA and the Andy Warhol Museum—have brought them to a wider audience.”

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