Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art Debuts Polaroid Portraits by Andy Warhol and Gus Van Sant



The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art opens its new exhibition “One Step Big Shot: Portraits by Andy Warhol and Gus Van Sant” on May 16, 2010. The exhibition will be on display through Sept. 5, 2010.

The public is invited to a free opening reception on Saturday, May 15th, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. featuring music by the Portland band The Hugs.

“One Step Big Shot: Portraits by Andy Warhol and Gus Van Sant” investigates portraiture in the work of two of America’s most influential artists.  Drawn from hundreds of original Polaroid pictures by Warhol and Van Sant, and accompanied by screenprints and a selection of films by both artists, the exhibition focuses on the act and artifact of portraiture and of the artists’ use of Polaroid images as an interim process in their creativity.

“In an era before digital photography, Andy Warhol and Gus Van Sant inadvertently preserved the processes that were significant in the crafting of their art,” notes exhibition curator Lawrence Fong, curator of American and regional art at the JSMA. “The use of Polaroid cameras and film captured what became the first step in their creative process.  Also central to the exhibition is how each artist navigates between objectivity and intuition, engagement and detachment, and immediacy and intimacy—distinct elements in their exploration of aesthetic choices, gender perspectives and cultural context.”

For most people, Polaroid’s innovative technology produced instant memories.  For Warhol and Van Sant, the Polaroid camera was central to their art practice and their insights into the personalities who posed for their portraits.

Van Sant, for whom Warhol was a major influence, has given the JSMA access to original Polaroid portraits he made to cast such films as “Mala Noche,” “Drugstore Cowboy,” and “To Die For,” as well as portraits of actors and individuals for films that were never produced.

In 2008, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art was honored to receive a significant selection of original Polaroid photographs by Andy Warhol from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Legacy Program.  The importance of this work is well known: Warhol, himself, claimed in 1980 that he “didn’t believe in art” but that he “believed in photography.”

The exhibition is organized by the JSMA. One Step Big Shot: Portraits by Andy Warhol and Gus Van Sant received major funding from the Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation Changing Exhibitions Endowment Fund, the William C. Mitchell Estate, Nancy and David Petrone, and  the  Oregon Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. This exhibition received additional support from Photography at Oregon, Eiko Politz, Chris and Christine Smith, Mort and Audrey Zalutsky and JSMA members.

Link: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, http://jsma.uoregon.edu

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One Response to “Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art Debuts Polaroid Portraits by Andy Warhol and Gus Van Sant”

  • Not a big shot « onestepbigshot — May 11, 2011 @ 12:37 AM

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