Press Release The Velvet Underground & Nico: Scepter Studio Sessions

A cover of a record album that has a peelable yellow banana artwork by Andy Warhol on a white background. On the bottom right, hand corner, it says, “Andy Warhol” in black.

The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground & Nico, 1967, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

For immediate release

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

The Andy Warhol Museum announces The Velvet Underground & Nico: Scepter Studio Sessions, on view May 12 – September 25, 2023.

The Velvet Underground & Nico: Scepter Studio Sessions highlights the Velvet Underground and the music from their first recording sessions in April 1966 at Scepter Studios in New York City. The exhibition centers on the original tapes of the nine initial tracks recorded by the band, recently identified while processing Andy Warhol’s archive at The Warhol, which became the bedrock of their debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967, Verve Records), one of the most jarring and influential albums in rock music. These monophonic reel-to-reel ¼” tapes feature alternate versions and mixes of songs later issued on the 1967 release which was produced by Warhol, and often referred to as the “banana album”, as it featured a peel-away banana on the cover designed by Warhol.

Although an acetate version, which was made from these rare master tapes, was released for the 45th anniversary of the album, it is of a different sonic quality, given the generation loss inherent in an analog copy. The nine tracks from the tapes, which will be on view, will play continuously in the gallery and will be accompanied by a large selection of photographs by Steve Schapiro from 1966-67 of the Velvets, Warhol and associates. In addition to the tapes, on view will be rare, unseen footage of the band performing live, more than 30 Warhol Screen Tests featuring the five members of the band filmed during the peak of their collaboration in 1966, and 100 copies of the “banana album”, all from the collection of Velvet’s enthusiast, Mark Satlof, which highlight the listener’s interaction with Warhol’s art.

“This is an exciting opportunity to celebrate the Velvet Underground and the beginning of their relationship with Warhol, as their original manager, producer and cover designer of the iconic 1967 debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico (aka the “banana record”), through an experiential exhibition centered around the dynamic sonic quality of the original Scepter Studio master tapes, as a highlight of the museum’s archive collection,” said Ben Harrison, senior director of performing arts and programming.

To complement the exhibition, a schedule of public programs is being organized and will be announced at a later date.

The Velvet Underground & Nico: Scepter Studio Sessions is curated by Ben Harrison, senior director of performing arts and programming, in collaboration with Matt Gray, manager of archives and Greg Pierce, director of film and video.

A press preview of the exhibition that includes a tour with Ben Harrison, senior director of performing arts and programming will take place on May 11 at 2 p.m. at The Warhol. Reservations are required. Email press@warhol.org.

The Velvet Underground & Nico: Scepter Studio Sessions is generously supported by The Fine Foundation.

The Fine Foundation


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.

Press Images

By downloading images, you are agreeing to use them for non-commercial, editorial press coverage only, and reproduce each with its accompanying credit and copyright. Please see full terms of service.

Register or login to download images.

Credit and copyright

The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground & Nico, 1967, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

Downloads

A cover of a record album that has a peelable yellow banana artwork by Andy Warhol on a white background. On the bottom right, hand corner, it says, “Andy Warhol” in black.

The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground & Nico, 1967, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

Credit and copyright

Steve Schapiro, Warhol, Nico, and The Velvet Underground, 1966, © Steve Schapiro, courtesy of Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles

Downloads

Black and white photograph of the Velvet Underground & Nico with Andy Warhol standing outside in front of a corner of a building.

Steve Schapiro, Warhol, Nico, and The Velvet Underground, 1966, © Steve Schapiro, courtesy of Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles

Credit and copyright

Steve Schapiro, The Velvet Underground Recording Session for The Velvet Underground & Nico, Nico and John Cale with Lou Reed Profile, New York, 1966, © Steve Schapiro, courtesy of Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles

Downloads

Black and white photograph of three of the members of the Velvet Underground with Nico in a recording studio singing in front of a microphone.

Steve Schapiro, The Velvet Underground Recording Session for The Velvet Underground & Nico, Nico and John Cale with Lou Reed Profile, New York, 1966, © Steve Schapiro, courtesy of Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles

Credit and copyright

Steve Schapiro, Velvet Underground Performing at The Trip, Maureen Tucker on screen in turquoise and Mary Woronov on stage, 1966, © Steve Schapiro, courtesy of Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles

Downloads

Color photograph of three of the members of the Velvet Underground performing on a stage as images are being projected onto the walls behind them.

Steve Schapiro, Velvet Underground Performing at The Trip, Maureen Tucker on screen in turquoise and Mary Woronov on stage, 1966, © Steve Schapiro, courtesy of Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles

Credit and copyright

Master Tapes for The Velvet Underground at Scepter Studios, 1966, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

Downloads

The front and back of Scotch reel-to-reel tape boxes with a reel-to-reel sticking out of the side of it.

Master Tapes for The Velvet Underground at Scepter Studios, 1966, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

Credit and copyright

Andy Warhol, Lou Reed [ST269], 1966
16mm, black-and-white film, silent, 4.5 minutes at 16 frames per second, © The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, a museum of Carnegie Institute. All rights reserved.

Downloads

Black and white film still of Lou Reed closeup wearing dark sunglasses and holding a glass bottle of Coke next to the right side of his face.

Andy Warhol, Lou Reed [ST269], 1966
16mm, black-and-white film, silent, 4.5 minutes at 16 frames per second, © The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, a museum of Carnegie Institute. All rights reserved.

Credit and copyright

Andy Warhol, Nico (Hershey) [ST246], 1966, 16mm film, black-and-white, silent, 4.3 minutes at 16 frames per second, © The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, a museum of Carnegie Institute. All rights reserved.

Downloads

Black and white film still of Nico looking towards her left holding a Hershey bar with her right hand in front of the right side of her face. She is eating a piece of chocolate.

Andy Warhol, Nico (Hershey) [ST246], 1966, 16mm film, black-and-white, silent, 4.3 minutes at 16 frames per second, © The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, a museum of Carnegie Institute. All rights reserved.