Rare photos show Warhol's private side

Jacob ShteymanAAP
A rare collection of Andy Warhol's personal photography will be exhibited at the Art Gallery of SA. (STEWART ADAMS)
Camera IconA rare collection of Andy Warhol's personal photography will be exhibited at the Art Gallery of SA. (STEWART ADAMS) Credit: AAP

Australians will be able to view pop art icon Andy Warhol's rarely seen private photography at an exhibition coming to the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Curator Julie Robinson told AAP that the collection, including hundreds of photos of Warhol and celebrity friends like Muhammad Ali, presents a unique insight into the artist as a person.

"He was photographing the people he was with, everything he was seeing," she said.

"It was just phenomenal what he was photographing."

The exhibition's title, A Social Media, highlights the collaborative aspect of Warhol's photography and its relevance to today's era of social media.

His work can be seen as a precursor to social media apps like BeReal, which aim to capture every aspect of our lives in the name of authenticity.

Henry Gillespie was a contemporary of Warhol's and one of two Australians to be captured by him in a portrait. He said Warhol would always carry around a camera as a way of promising himself and his friends a chance at immortality.

"Look at society now, we all have cameras on our phones and people photograph everything," he said.

"Andy was doing this decades ago and creating art, and in so doing, inviting us to think about the society we live in. He was the original 'influencer' and his whole life was devoted to creating his image."

While commonplace today, his candid slice-of-life photography was a totally unusual artistic practice in the 70s and 80s, said Ms Robinson.

Ms Robinson said the exhibit will showcase Warhol's "career-long fascination with photography", including portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley, which rank among his best known works.

Photos were central to his art and were the starting point for many of his screen prints, paintings and experimental films, which will also be included in the exhibition.

A Social Media will run from March to May as part of the 2023 Adelaide Festival.

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