Hidden Treasures: Warhol's Ongoing Work of Art

Artist Left Behind Hundreds of Time Capsules Full of Artifacts

Clark Gable's shoes.

Clark Gable's shoes. The Andy Warhol Museum hide caption

itoggle caption The Andy Warhol Museum
Clippings, sketches and letters collected by Warhol.

Clippings, sketches and letters collected by Warhol. The Andy Warhol Museum hide caption

itoggle caption The Andy Warhol Museum
Clippings, sketches and letters collected by Warhol.

Clippings, sketches and letters collected by Warhol. The Andy Warhol Museum hide caption

itoggle caption The Andy Warhol Museum
Photos and images from Warhol's collection.

Photos and images from Warhol's collection. The Andy Warhol Museum hide caption

itoggle caption The Andy Warhol Museum

When Andy Warhol died in 1987, he left behind miles of film, video and audiotapes, and thousands of paintings, photographs and works on paper. John Smith of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh says much of it was what most people would call trash.

As Harriet Baskas reports for Hidden Treasures, an occasional series on All Things Considered, Warhol's legacy includes hundreds of sealed and dated storage boxes, time capsules for the future. Since 1994, the Warhol Museum has a made a regular event of opening what Warhol termed his ongoing work of art.

The content found inside ranges from the questionable — leftover birthday cake from Caroline Kennedy's 16th birthday party — to the sublime, including the black-and-white film acetates Warhol used in his portrait of movie star Dennis Hopper.

Ingrid Schaffner of the University of Pennsylvania's Institute of Contemporary Art says these boxes tell you more about Warhol the person than about his art.

"His great statement is, 'If you want to know about Andy Warhol, just look at surfaces of my painting and films. There's nothing there,' Schaffner says. "To make a statement like that and then see, in fact, there's everything there with the work of the time capsules. The vacuum is full of stuff."

This story is part of the Hidden Treasures Radio Project, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Cultural Development Authority of King County, Wash.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.