About the Exhibition

Stunning black-and-white photos

January 30, 2021 – May 2, 2021

MOWA | West Bend

Forty years ago, Doug Edmunds embarked on a “National Portrait Series”: he spent six years photographing “people of influence, notoriety and accomplishments.”

In the case of Andy Warhol, dogged persistence was required. It took Edmunds 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 Copland, Allen Ginsberg, 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.