Andy Warhol films to be digitised

A major new partnership between The Warhol, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and MPC will see hundreds of films made by the iconic pop art pioneer Andy Warhol converted to digital format.
This state-of-the-art project will make public films that have never seen the light of day, as well as reintroduce up to 500 titles that Warhol made between 1963 and 1972. These were withdrawn from circulation some 40 years ago.
However, thanks to advances in technology, the 16mm films will now be available in a high resolution digital format. Scanning of the films, frame by frame, has already begun and is expected to take a number of years to complete.
It is certainly high time that this initiative got underway. Since the early nineties, the films have been largely been kept under lock and key at MoMA, although some have been put on show. The museum says they are some of the most requested works in its Circulating Film Library.
The scope for the use of the films post-digitisation is vast. As well as expanding MoMA’s own public programming, other institutions will be able to utilise them for various schemes, exhibitions and performances. They will also serve as useful works to analyse for scholarly, journalistic and critical investigations.
“The Warhol’s mission is to be the global keeper of his legacy,” said Eric Shiner, director of The Warhol. “Making it possible for curators, scholars, and the public to see Warhol’s total output as a filmmaker for the first time is a major step toward achieving our goals. These films stand alongside Warhol’s greatest works and are as significant as his paintings.”
Rajendra Roy, the Celeste Bartos chief curator of film at MoMA, added that this significant collaboration is the largest effort the museum has ever undertaken in terms of the digitisation of the work of a single artist.
He added: “The results will allow us to maintain our custodial responsibility for the long term analogue preservation of Andy Warhol’s films, and will help provide broader access to them for research and theatrical exhibition.”
MPC, which is an Oscar-winning digital VFX studio – best known for the work it has done in blockbuster movies like Man of Steel, World War Z and Life of Pi – will be leading on the digital efforts and responsible for retaining the authenticity of the original films. It is important that their collective character is maintained.
Indeed, as Patrick Moore, deputy director of The Warhol and adjunct curator of the effort explains, the effective restoration of the films requires “the same care as the most valuable canvases in our collection”.
Justin Brukman, managing director of MPC (NYC), said this project is just one of a number of art-inspired ventures the company has undertaken in recent years: “Working with The Warhol and MoMA is a wonderful opportunity. The digitisation of these films is just the first phase of this project and we are all excited about exploring future opportunities together.”
Cadogan Tate specialises in art transportation, fine art storage and art logistics, helping galleries, museums and collectors manage their collections.