TECH | LOST ANDY WARHOL AMIGA COMPUTER ART REDISCOVERED AFTER 30 YEARS

April 24, 2014  |  art, Tech

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News of freshly-discovered artworks by major artists from places like storage spaces and flea markets are fairly commonplace in the art world, but the Andy Warhol Foundation has just announced the unprecedented discovery of previously unknown digital art designed by Andy Warhol in the 1980s on a primitive Amiga computer.

Warhol’s saved files, trapped until now on ancient Amiga floppy disks held by The Warhol’s archives collection, were totally unreadable by modern computers and required a painstaking extraction process by members of the Carnegie Mellon University Computer Club. The result is a small collection of  never-before-seen images as fun and funky as the 80s—and the Amiga.

Warhol’s Amiga art experiments were the result of a commission by Commodore International to demonstrate the computer’s graphic arts capabilities. Warhol himself participated in the public launch of the computer in 1985, awing the world by creating a live "painting" of Blondie muse Debbie Harry using the equally primitive pre-Photoshop ProPaint software.

After the launch, Warhol continued to create work on the computer at his studio, with the resulting visuals ranging from doodles and camera shots of a desktop, to manipulations of his own classic images of a banana, Marilyn Monroe, Campbell’s soup, and various portraits, clearly demonstrating Warhol's interest in the computer as a new medium before his death in 1987.

The Warhol’s Director Eric Shiner said, “Warhol saw no limits to his art practice. These computer generated images underscore his spirit of experimentation and his willingness to embrace new media—qualities which, in many ways, defined his practice from the early 1960s onwards.”

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