Andy Warhol’s 1960s Screen Tests to Be Played on Times Square Billboards

Posted On Wed, April 29, 2015 By

Posted On Wed, April 29, 2015 By In Art, Midtown West

From a 1965 screen test of Edie Sedgwick, via Andy Warhol Museum

Plans for a New York City branch of the Andy Warhol Museum may have been scrapped, but starting Friday the pop artist will take over Times Square for three minutes every night of the month. As Gothamist reports, Times Square Arts will show Warhol’s rarely-seen 1960s Screen Tests on the electronic billboards every night at 11:57 p.m. as part of their monthly Midnight Moment series. Warhol’s 500 Screen Tests are “revealing portraits of hundreds of different individuals,” both famous and not, frequent visitors to the Factory and newcomers. Those on the Times Square roster include Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg, Lou Reed, Twist Jim Rosenquist, Harry Smith, and Edie Sedgwick.


1965 screen test of Bob Dylan via starlett lopez

According to Warhol.org, the artist’s Screen Tests were all “exactly the same length, lasting only as long as the roll of film, about 2 ¾ minutes.” The subjects “were all asked to pose to be captured by Warhol’s stationary 16mm Bolex movie camera on silent, black and white, 100-foot rolls of film… For exhibition, Warhol strung the Screen Tests together in a sequence, inducing an almost hypnotic reverie that could ‘help the audiences get more acquainted with themselves,’ as he once said.” He made the 500 works over a three-year period while at his Silver Factory, located on the fifth floor of 231 East 47th Street, just a stone’s throw from Times Square.

Sherry Dobbin, Director of Times Square Arts, told Art Daily, “These Screen Tests capture that awkward, playful and sometimes fearful moment we experience when the camera is turned on us with the simple instruction to just be ourselves.”

[Via Gothamist]

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