A team of artists, computer experts and museum staff announced a significant new discovery today: they've managed to uncover a series of previously unknown computer artworks created by pop art master Andy Warhol in the 1980s. The images, made on a Commodore Amiga, were stored on obsolete floppy disks in the archives of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, and were only found after new media artist Cory Arcangel came across this YouTube video:
After Arcangel saw the video, which shows Warhol making a portrait of Debbie Harry at a Commodore product launch in 1985, he started to wonder whether any of Warhol's digital experiments were locked away in the Warhol Museum's archive. He contacted the museum, which had in its collection two of Warhol's Amiga 1000 computers, an early drawing tablet and a collection of floppy disks (you can see his setup in the gallery above). They teamed up with the Carnegie Mellon Computer Club, which specializes in obsolete technologies, and after various hurdles — some of the disks were corrupted, and others contained only copies of commercial software — they hit pay dirt: files labelled "campbells.pic," "marilyn1.pic" and more.
In all, they found 28 never-before-seen images, depicting some Warhol staples like Campbell's soup cans and Botticelli’s Venus (this time with a digitally inserted third eye). “What’s amazing is that by looking at these images, we can see how quickly Warhol seemed to intuit the essence of what it meant to express oneself, in what then was a brand-new medium: the digital,” Arcangel said in a release.
The story of the recovery of the images will be presented in a new documentary called Trapped: Andy Warhol’s Amiga Experiments, which will be available online on May 12.
And for more on the "retrocomputing" work required to extract the images, see this report from the CMU Computer Club.
Via The Verge