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Instant Warhol

Andy Warhol's polaroid portraits are in the spotlight at this standout exhibition at the 2023 Ballarat International Foto Biennale.
By Sarah Ward
August 25, 2023
By Sarah Ward
August 25, 2023

The art world's love affair with Andy Warhol has lasted far longer than 15 minutes. Australia's fondness for the iconic artist definitely hasn't been fleeting, either. In 2023 alone, not one, not two, but three different exhibitions Down Under have celebrated his work; however, only Instant Warhol is solely dedicated to his skills with a polaroid camera.

On the Gold Coast in autumn, Pop Masters highlighted Warhol's pieces alongside works by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. In Adelaide around the same period, Andy Warhol & Photography: A Social Media honed in on the artist as a shutterbug. Obviously, Instant Warhol has the same idea as the latter, but it will only be filled with polaroid portraits — 59 of them.

This time, Warhol's work is headed to Ballarat, displaying from Saturday, August 26–Sunday, October 22 at the Art Gallery of Ballarat during the Ballarat International Foto Biennale. The regional Victorian photography festival is never short on things to see, but Instant Warhol is quite the drawcard for the biannual event.

Andy Warhol self-portrait in drag, 1980. © Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. Artists Rights Society [ARS]/Copyright Agency, 2023.

The original snaps that Warhol himself took — when he wasn't painting Campbell's soup cans and images of Marilyn Monroe, of course — will be on display. Even if you haven't seen them before, some should be familiar. One of the reasons that the artist captured polaroids, other than loving them, was to turn some of the famous faces he snapped into his screen prints.

Drawn from the thousands of photographs he took with the instant cameras between 1958–87, this selection of pictures will also feature images of Warhol himself. They're all coming to Australia thanks to The Brant Foundation, with founder Peter M Brant one of Warhol's early patrons, then a friend, and also the the producer of Warhol's films L'Amour and Bad.

Top image: Andy Warhol, Sylvester Stallone, 1980. © Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. Artists Rights Society [ARS]/Copyright Agency, 2023.

Top image: Photograph of Andy Warhol taking a polaroid picture while sitting with Jack Ford and Bianca Jagger on the Truman Balcony, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration courtesy Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library via Wikimedia Commons.
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