Whitney Museum Transfers an Expansive Archive of Andy Warhol Films to MoMA

We’ve got Warhol on the move! The Whitney Museum of American Art announced the transfer of a vast research archive on Andy Warhol’s cinematic oeuvre to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). In order to keep the archive accessible to scholars, the materials — which the Whitney and MOMA have worked since 1984 to assemble in collaboration—will now be housed at the MOMA.

The move is happening in tandem with the publication of a second volume of Warhol’s films catalogue raisonné, which was published by the Whitney in 2006, titled The Films of Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné, 1963–1965, Volume 2. The publication, which includes works like Blow Job (1964) and Outer and Inner Space (1965), will be published this week and is slated for a virtual symposium organized by the Whitney in early December.

Warhol produced hundreds of films throughout the 1960s, and these experimental works are highly regarded as “radical explorations beyond the frontiers of conventional cinema,” according to the Whitney. From 1963 through 1968, Warhol produced nearly 650 films, including hundreds of Screen Tests, or portrait films, and dozens of full-length movies, in a range of styles. The creation of the Warhol Film Archive was initiated by curator John G. Hanhardt during his tenure as head of film and video at the Whitney. The archive assembled manuscripts and other media partially throughout the production of the Warhol films catalogue raisonné, which focuses on Warhol’s filmmaking between 1963 and 1965. In 1970, Warhol removed all his films from distribution, discontinuing any public viewing and creating a mythic veil of obscurity around them.

Blow Job (1964), 16mm, b&w, silent; 41 min. @ 16 fps, 36 min. @ 18 fps (CR no. 1964.3) (© 2021 The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, a museum of the Carnegie Institute. All rights reserved.)

“The publication of this second volume is immensely important,” said the Whitney’s director Adam Weinberg in a press release regarding the importance of the catalog and supporting research archive. “The Whitney’s ongoing efforts to document, research and study Warhol’s remarkable film works — along with the preservation and digitization initiatives of the MoMA and the Andy Warhol Museum — have brought them to a wider audience.”

Warhol enthusiasts may rejoice, mark their calendars for the book’s release and upcoming discussion, and hail the continuation of the work between these two institutions to preserve the cinematic legacy of one of the art world’s greatest enigmas.

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