Andy Warhol was an artist, celebrity, and icon. He is a household name and yet, mysterious. Warhol was an incredibly prolific photographer, printmaker, designer and painter, and his work is instantly recognizable as part of our cultural lexicon. But who was Warhol when not behind – and in front of – the camera, and what really happened at the Factory?
Newport Art Museum has brought a selection of Warhol’s work right here to Newport, and will dive into his career, life at the Factory, and legacy through programming dedicating to deciphering the man behind the lens. “Andy Warhol: Big Shot,” now on view through Dec. 20, is the artist’s third exhibition at the Art Museum, his first was a group show in honor of gallery owner Leo Castelli in 1977, and second was “Andy Warhol’s Children’s Show” in 1985. This exhibition focuses on Warhol’s photographic work and specifically his Polaroids, for which he used a Polaroid Big Shot and an SX-70 camera. Taken to document his art and aid in his drawing for ads, make self-portraits, and create portraits that would become studies for silkscreen prints and paintings, Polaroids were at the heart of Warhol’s work.
In celebration of the show, Newport Art Museum will host a virtual Curator Conversation with Senior Curator Dr. Francine Weiss on Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 5:30 p.m. This lively and illuminating conversation will feature John W. Smith, Director of the RISD Museum and previously Assistant Director of collections and exhibitions at The Andy Warhol Museum, and Vincent Fremont, who worked at the Factory with Warhol for nearly 20 years and is co-founder of the Warhol Foundation, and will shed some light on who Warhol was when he was not behind or in front of the camera. The talk is live, held on Zoom, and followed by Q&A with the presenters. Tickets are $10 for Museum members and $15 for general admission. Registration is required to access the Zoom presentation, and is available at newportartmuseum.org/events.
Newport Art Museum members are also invited to experience “Andy Warhol: Big Shot” during two exclusive guided tours led by Executive Director Norah Diedrich. Tours are being offered Thursday, Oct. 22 at 5:30 p.m. and Thursday, Nov. 19 at 5:30 p.m., are free for Museum members, and reservations are required. Space is limited in accordance with state-issued COVID-19 guidelines. Museum members are invited for a behind the scenes look and complimentary drink during these exclusive tours. Registration is required and is available at newportartmuseum.org/events.
All visitors are invited to enjoy the Museum and grounds Tuesday – Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sundays from noon-5 p.m., and Thursday evenings until 7 p.m. during Museum late nights. By extending Thursday hours, the Museum offers visitors additional opportunities to enjoy time in the galleries, experience the transformative and restorative power of art, and foster lifelong museum-going habits. In 2019, the Museum changed its admission policy to extend free admission to young persons up to age 17, encouraging families with children and teens to experience Museum visits together. In addition, the Newport Art Museum was the second Museum in RI to become a member of Museums for All, a national program through the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences, which offers each Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card holder up to four free adult admissions to the Museum.
“Extended museum hours, free admission for students 17 years and younger, and our participation in Museums for All enable greater access to all our museum has to offer,” said Norah Diedrich, executive director of the Newport Art Museum. “There is a certain magic that happens in our galleries when people connect with the works of art – and each other, so welcome.”
More information on exhibitions and events – both in person and virtual – can be found at newportartmuseum.org and by following the Museum on Instagram @newportartmuseum.
“At the Museum,” provided by the Newport Art Museum, appears each month in The Daily News and online at newportri.com. For more information, call (401) 848-8200.