random thoughts & reviews
Warhol Flowers XIII, Chromogenic Print, executed 1964, printed 2010
Of all the influences in Andy Warhol's work, Salvador Dali proved the greatest.
The Spanish surrealist made an indelible mark on Warhol when he shared his secret formula for fame:
1. a well-crafted persona, 2. an entourage, and 3. a record for your every move. To Dali, uniqueness, popularity, and immortality together defined success. It was this formula that later made Warhol an exception to the rule. Warhol proved it isn’t who you know but who you are that matters.
Before They Were Famous: Behind the Lens of William John Kennedy brings into focus the unique cast of players surrounding Andy Warhol during his rise to fame in mid-century New York, while hinting at the complexity of relations between the artists and the iconoclasts who made them.
The collection boasts original never-before-seen photographs of Robert Indiana for his "Die and Eat" series and "Love" painting, and a stunning studio series of Ultra Violet in the nude, all eloquently retold for the exhibition's companion documentary. And that's just the beginning. Kennedy recalls his early days at The Factory, Warhol's midtown studio that served as the backdrop for
projects with Taylor Mead, Lou Reed and others. It was by the building's south side fire escape where he captured Warhol as he held an unraveled acetate scroll of Marilyn Monroe against a brilliant specter of sunlight.
The Miami-based KIWI Arts Group delivers a stunning vision of Kennedy's work, further articulating how Pop art would bring New Realism forward as a lasting mode of counterculture. The collection reinstates, however subtly, the movement’s original critique of American values by using commercialism, civil rights and sexuality to shape mainstream art discourse. View the collection in SoHo through May 29.
Before They Were Famous
April 19—May 29
KIWI Arts Group
109 Norfolk Street, NYC
By: Edward Truth, Contributing Writer for Connextions Magazine Follow him on twitter: @edwardtruth
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Title: Warhol Filming “Taylor Mead’s Ass” Suite I-IV Location: The Factory, New York City Medium: Silver Gelatin Fiber Print Edition: 60 with 7 Artist Proofs Size: 16 x 20 inches (suite of 4) Executed: 1964 Printed: 2010 Copyright: William John Kennedy
EXHIBITION OFFERS RARE GLIMPSE OF ANDY WARHOL AND ROBERT INDIANA “BEFORE THEY WERE FAMOUS”
Recently Discovered Images by Photographer William John Kennedy To Make New York City Debut
NEW YORK, NY (March 19, 2012) – Before They Were Famous: Behind the Lens of William John Kennedy, presented by Miami’s KIWI Arts Group, will debut in New York City on April 19 and, concurrently, in Indianapolis on April 27, 2012. The exhibition features recently unveiled images of Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana from the photographer’s personal archives, which laid in storage for nearly 50 years. Before They Were Famous will be on view April 19–May 29 at Site/109 on Norfolk Street in New York City--just blocks from where some of these historic images were taken --and, from April 27–May 31 as a collaboration between ModernMasters Fine Art and the Conrad Indianapolis in Indiana, Robert Indiana’s native state and a recurrent theme in his work.
"William John Kennedy’s newly discovered photographs reveal a side of Warhol not often seen,” says Eric Shiner, director of the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. “He surrounds himself with his imagery, becoming an integral part of the environment and forever linking himself with the image at hand. The photographs are both engaging and rare, and they most definitely depict the artist at
a pivotal moment, just before his career exploded."
At Pop Art's pivotal moment in 1963, American photographer William John Kennedy instinctively identified Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana as the rising art stars, capturing them with what ultimately became two of the world's most iconic images—Andy's
Marilyn and Indiana's LOVE. Kennedy’s relationship with them began when Indiana invited him to document the groundbreaking
Americans 1963 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, which included a blue-chip roster of artists such as Rosenquist, Oldenburg and Lichtenstein, as well as the young Indiana and Warhol.
The Kennedy collection of silver gelatin and chromogenic photographs, solely published by KIWI Arts Group, reveals some of the only known images of the artists with their original works. After decades in storage, the pristine negatives are now being used to produce these historic images at Duggal— the same famous NY lab that processed the original negatives. This collection has traveled
to select cities over the past 14 months; the New York City premiere marks the realization of a lifelong dream for the 81-year-old Kennedy and an important milestone for this exhibition.
Full Circle: Before They Were Famous, the 2010 short documentary that chronicles the journey of Kennedy’s images as they were made public, will be screened in both New York and Indianapolis. Featuring a candid Robert Indiana in his Vinalhaven studio, along with Warhol superstars Ultra Violet and Taylor Mead, among others, the film provides rare and humorous insights into the worlds of Warhol and Indiana during the emergence of the Pop Art movement. Site/109 is located at 109 Norfolk Street between Rivington and Delancey Streets.
Before They Were Famous will be open from April 19 - May 29, with a public reception slated for April 22 from 5-8PM. Exhibition hours are Wednesday-Sunday from 12-6PM daily; open by appointment on Mondays and Tuesdays. For more
information, please visit www.site109.com.
The Conrad Indianapolis is located at 50 West Washington Street. Presented by ModernMasters Fine Art and the Conrad Hotels, in association with publisher KIWI Arts Group, the exhibit features more than 50 rare photographs of Warhol and Indiana and will be on view from April 27 - May 31. For more information, please visit www.modernmastersfab.com or www.conradindianapolis.com.
For a schedule of screenings, book signings, guided tours and special events, please visit www.kiwiartsgroup.com
ABOUT THE ARTIST
William John Kennedy, a long-time resident of Miami Beach, studied at Syracuse University, the School of Visual Arts, and Pratt Institute. After working in the 1950s as an assistant and studio manager for renowned Vogue fashion photographer Clifford Coffin, Kennedy enjoyed a rewarding career as a top freelance editorial photographer in New York City. His work appeared in publications such as LIFE Magazine and Sports Illustrated. In the commercial arena he created national and international campaigns for corporate clients including Avon, GE, IBM, RJR Nabisco, American Express, and Xerox. Throughout his professional life, Kennedy has continued his passion for fine art photography and developed a full body of work.
ABOUT KIWI ARTS GROUP
KIWI Arts Group is a fine art publishing house that transcends the traditional artist-gallery relationship with unique vision and skill. Its mission is to identify talent, create and disseminate multimedia documentation that articulately reveals the artist’s proper historical context, and successfully manage all aspects of marketing and sales on an international scale. For more information, please call 305-200-3047or visit www.kiwiartsgroup.com.
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