Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again: Portrait of Society

Solo en Inglès

Hear from historian Trevor Fairbrother and artist Peter Halley about Andy Warhol's portraits.

101—Portraits

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a black and white portrait of Peter Halley

Trevor Fairbrother: When you hang your Warhol portrait on the wall, it's kind of like putting up a billboard in your living room. 

Narrator: Trevor Fairbrother is an art historian and curator, who’s often worked on Warhol.

Trevor Fairbrother: They're large, they're aggressive in a good way, they're cheerful, they're funny. 

Narrator: One black-and-white portrait pictures a man wearing glasses, his face appearing three times as though in a multiple exposure. That’s the artist Peter Halley. 

Peter Halley: The way that Warhol did the photography was the subject would sit in chair and he would stand up over them. And he did his portraits with this old Polaroid camera that was designed for portraits, which was called a Big Shot. And it had this long cone like protuberance in the front which made it sort of phallic. So as he snapped pictures Andy would sort of rock forwards and backwards. It was a little bit, as I wrote later, like being very gently humped. It was a kind of fanciful way a kind of sexual motion. And of course at the same time, slightly uncanny. And then I didn't know what had happened with with those photos. I had never heard anything back until Warhol died. 

Narrator: Halley discovered after Warhol’s death that the photos had been made into paintings, including the one you see here.


Andy Warhol, Peter Halley, 1986. Acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen, 40 × 40 in. (101.6 × 101.6 cm). Collection of Peter Halley. © 2018 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York