News

Warhol Computer Art Discovered on 1985 Floppy Discs

by Mostafa Heddaya on April 24, 2014

Andy Warhol, Andy2, 1985, ©The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visuals Arts, Inc., courtesy of The Andy Warhol Museum

Andy Warhol, “Andy2″ (1985) (©The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visuals Arts, Inc., courtesy of The Andy Warhol Museum)

A multidisciplinary group at Carnegie Mellon University has recovered three new digital images produced by Andy Warhol in 1985. The files were found on “Amiga floppy disks stored in the archives collection of The Andy Warhol Museum,” according to a news release.

The discovery was precipitated by the artist Cory Arcangel, who approached the Andy Warhol Museum about their digital archive in December 2011. Per a detailed technical report on the process, a collaborative group including the CMU Computer Club worked with Arcangel to make archival copies of floppy disks in the museum’s possession using KryoFlux, which resulted in the discovery of discs that were not accounted for in the museum’s inventory. These contents were examined for possible image files created by the artist, and those files were then opened on emulated versions of the GraphicCraft software on which they were originally made.

Andy Warhol enthusiastically embraced computers toward the end of his career, as Hyperallergic contributor Joseph Nechvatal has recently written, purchasing several Amiga 1000 computers and appearing on the cover of Amiga World magazine. (Warhol was introduced to the personal computer by none other than Steve Jobs, who brought a Macintosh to Sean Lennon’s ninth birthday party in New York.) But much of Warhol’s visible participation in computer culture during his life was limited to such commercial engagements, most notably his appearance at Commodore’s launch event for the Amiga, a Macintosh competitor, where he composed a computer portrait of Debbie Harry.

This is not the first time Warhol’s digital work has resurfaced in recent years. In 2006 the Detroit Museum of New Art exhibited an Amiga-produced video of his called “You Are the One” it allegedly discovered 2001. Due to threatened legal action from his estate, the video was only screened once.

“The thing that I like most about doing art on the computer is that it looks like my work,” the Pittsburgh-born artist, who earned his B.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon in 1949, is reputed to have said.

Andy Warhol, Venus, 1985, ©The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visuals Arts, Inc., courtesy of The Andy Warhol Mus

Andy Warhol, “Venus” (1985) (©The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visuals Arts, Inc., courtesy of The Andy Warhol Museum)

Andy Warhol, Campbell’s, 1985, ©The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visuals Arts, Inc., courtesy of The Andy Warhol Museum

Andy Warhol, “Campbell’s” (1985) (©The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visuals Arts, Inc., courtesy of The Andy Warhol Museum)

Commodore Amiga computer equipment used by Andy Warhol 1985-86, courtesy of The Andy Warhol Museum

Commodore Amiga computer equipment used by Andy Warhol 1985-86 (courtesy of The Andy Warhol Museum)

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