Location: MOWA | West Bend
Forty years ago, fresh from a successful exhibition of portraits
at the Madison Art Center, Doug Edmunds determined to embark on a “National
Portrait Series.” Seeking introductions from everyone he knew, he spent six
years traveling from coast to coast to photograph “people of influence,
notoriety and accomplishments.”
In the case of Andy Warhol, dogged persistence was required. It
took Edwards four months in 1981 to secure an appointment with the Pop Art star
at his Factory studio, but he put his allotted "fifteen minutes of
fame" to great use, capturing more than ninety images of the artist, who,
unsmilingly, posed as directed by the young photographer. When
Warhol's vaunted fifteen minutes were up, he left the room without a word. But
Edmunds had the portraits—haunting, minimal studies of Warhol's unmistakable
visage, the gaze flat and frank but inscrutable, the personality at once
stripped bare and completely veiled.
Fortunately for Edmunds, he has had many more minutes in
which to capture a number of names famous to most of America: Hank Aaron, Ella
Fitzgerald, Aaron Copeland, Allen Ginsburg, Lily Tomlin, Bob Woodward, and
more. The portraits capture the distinctive personality—even aura—of
these larger-than-life individuals and together provide a spectrum of
leading figures of the time.
The artist produced the large-format photographs in this
exhibition by digitally scanning and enlarging the original black-and-white negatives
taken with a camera.