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  • Warhol and the Portfolio of Fame: The Photography of Doug Edmunds

Warhol and the Portfolio of Fame: The Photography of Doug Edmunds 

On view January 30 - May 2 Upcoming Exhibitions
Image for Image for Image for
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.