Press Release 13 Most Beautiful… Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests Begins U.S. Tour

A still from one of Andy Warhol's black and white film screen tests in which Jane Holzer is brushing her teeth.

Andy Warhol, Screen Test: Jane Holzer, (1964) ©2008 AWM

For immediate release

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Andy Warhol Museum in collaboration with The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust presents 13 Most Beautiful…Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests on October 24 and 25, 2008 as part of the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts 2008. The project is jointly commissioned by The Warhol and The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and was developed by The Warhol staff members Ben Harrison, associate curator for performance, Geralyn Huxley, curator of film and video and Greg Pierce, assistant curator of film and video. The Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts 2008 is curated by Paul Organisak, V.P., Programming and Executive Director, Pittsburgh Dance Council and Ben Harrison of The Warhol and runs October 10 – 25, 2008.

This project features music by composed and performed by Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips, both formerly of the indie NYC downtown band Luna, for a selection of Warhol’s four-minute, silent film portraits. The duo currently performs as Dean and Britta. The project will take the form of a multimedia performance featuring a large scale video projection of Warhol’s Screen Tests above the musicians performing live on stage. “Dean Wareham & Britta Phillips have a sensibility about their songwriting that is romantically drowsy and dreamy with both languid and churning rhythms and lyrics full of vivid imagery that seems uniquely appropriate to the levitating and transfixing qualities of Warhol’s film portraits, the Screen Tests”, Harrison said.

The 13 Most Beautiful…Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests project will tour to various contemporary arts centers, museums and festivals throughout the U.S. including the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio on November 20, 2008; Lincoln Center’s American Songbook, The Allen Room, New York, NY on January 17, 2009; Vancouver, PuSH Festival, January 30, 2009; Seattle Art Museum on February 6, 2009; Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN on February 28, 2009; MCA Chicago on March 7, 2009; and Mass MoCA, North Adams, MA on March 28, 2009.

Warhol’s Screen Tests, which number approximately 500, were shot by the artist between 1964 and 1966. Screen Tests are revealing portraits of both famous and anonymous visitors to his studio, the Factory. The subjects were asked to pose, lit with a strong keylight, and filmed by Warhol, or an assistant. He used his stationary 16mm Bolex camera on silent, black and white, 100-foot rolls of film. Each screen test lasted only as long as the roll of film. The resulting 2 1/2 minute films were then projected in slow motion so that each lasted four minutes.

Many of the Screen Tests were included in shifting compilations such as the flatteringly-titled 13 Most Beautiful Women, 13 Most Beautiful Boys, and 50 Fantastics and 50 Personalities, which were often projected in different versions, depending on who was in the audience or who Warhol wanted to please. The Screen Tests were also used, as were other Warhol films, as part of the light show for his 1966 multi-media happening, the Exploding Plastic Inevitable. In these shows The Velvet Underground and Nico performed their music, accompanied by Superstar dancers bathed in light from large projections of slides and films.

The Andy Warhol Museum Film Collection

Warhol brought the vision of a successful artist to his filmmaking activities. From 1963 to 1971, Warhol produced an oeuvre comprised of more than 4,000 reels of film, including 500 original, 33-minute sound reels, more than 800 original, 21⁄2- minute silent reels, and 2,800 reels of outtakes and prints. His films have appeared in such exhibitions as Other Rooms, Other Voices, organized by the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and Andy Warhol at the Queensland Museum of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia.

In 1982, five years before he died, Warhol agreed to allow the Whitney Museum of American Art in collaboration with The Museum of Modern Art in New York to retrieve his films from his studio, where they had been stored since he withdrew them from circulation in 1972, and begin a project to research and restore them with the intention of preserving them for future exhibition and study. The collaboration became The Andy Warhol Film Project, which continued after Warhol’s death in 1987 and is still in progress. In 1997, the Foundation donated to the Warhol Museum the copyrights to all of the artist’s film and video material, as well as his entire video collection. The original films were donated to The Museum of Modern Art. Warhol films and video are shown every day at The Warhol.

Ticket Information

Tickets $25; call 412-456-6666
Tickets for this event are scheduled to go on sale July 25, 2008 at 9 a.m. For questions about this event or for more ticket information, please contact the Box Office at Theater Square at 412-456-6666.

The Warhol receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; and The Heinz Endowments. Further support is provided by the Allegheny Regional Asset District.

The Andy Warhol Museum

Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the place of Andy Warhol’s birth, The Andy Warhol Museum holds the largest collection of Warhol’s artworks and archival materials and is one of the most comprehensive single-artist museums in the world. The Warhol is one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

Established in 1895 by Andrew Carnegie, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is a collection of four distinctive museums: Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum. The museums reach more than 1.4 million people a year through exhibitions, educational programs, outreach activities, and special events.