The art world’s love affair with Andy Warhol has lasted far longer than 15 minutes. Australia’s fondness for the iconic artist definitely hasn’t been fleeting, either. In 2023 alone, not one, not two, but three different exhibitions Down Under have showcased or are about to celebrate his work; however, only the just-announced Instant Warhol is solely dedicated to his skills with a polaroid camera.
On the Gold Coast in autumn, Pop Masters highlighted Warhol’s pieces alongside works by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. In Adelaide around the same period, Andy Warhol & Photography: A Social Media honed in on the artist as a shutterbug. Obviously, Instant Warhol has the same idea as the latter, but it will only be filled with polaroid portraits — 59 of them.
This time, Warhol’s work is headed to Ballarat, displaying from Saturday, August 26–Sunday, October 22 at the Art Gallery of Ballarat during the Ballarat International Foto Biennale. The regional Victorian photography festival is never short on things to see, but Instant Warhol is quite the drawcard for the biannual event.
The original snaps that Warhol himself took — when he wasn’t painting Campbell’s soup cans and images of Marilyn Monroe, of course — will be on display. Even if you haven’t seen them before, some should be familiar. One of the reasons that the artist captured polaroids, other than loving them, was to turn some of the famous faces he snapped into his screen prints.
Drawn from the thousands of photographs he took with the instant cameras between 1958–87, this selection of pictures will also feature images of Warhol himself. They’re all coming to Australia thanks to The Brant Foundation, with founder Peter M Brant one of Warhol’s early patrons, then a friend, and also the the producer of Warhol’s films L’Amour and Bad.
“Warhol had an unparalleled ability to chronicle the visual culture of his time. The Brant Foundation is delighted to share our collection of portraits including celebrities such as Mick Jagger, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Liza Minnelli for the Australian public to discover and enjoy,” said Allison Brant, The Brant Foundation’s current director.
‘These original polaroids captured a moment in time and went on to identify our culture, our art form, our view of celebrity. Warhol was the inventor of the ‘superstar’ and it’s fascinating to take a moment to absorb these tiny snaps within our fast and furious scrolling world,” added Vanessa Gerrans, CEO of Ballarat International Foto Biennale.
As revealed earlier in May, 2023’s event will also feature People Power — Platon, which’ll span 120-plus portraits by photographer Platon, including images of everyone from Cate Blanchett to the snapper himself.
Also already announced: a showcase of Yvonne Todd and Erik Johansson’s work, with Todd’s The Stephanie Collection making its Australian premiere, and a suite of Johansson’s surreal landscapes and optical illusions world premiering in Ballarat.
Instant Warhol will be on display at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, 40 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat, during the Ballarat International Foto Biennale from Saturday, August 26–Sunday, October 22, 2023 — head to the festival’s website for further details.
Top image: Photograph of Andy Warhol taking a polaroid picture while sitting with Jack Ford and Bianca Jagger on the Truman Balcony, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration courtesy Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library via Wikimedia Commons.