Houston enthusiasts, historians, and fans of pop art — and indeed, pop culture — now have a unique opportunity to get their hands on a piece of American history.
Dozens of rare Andy Warhol photographs are now on display at the University of Houston. The curated selection of 149 photographs, taken by Warhol between 1975 and 1985, includes 99 Polaroids and 50 black-and-white silver gelatin prints. For the first time ever, they are available for research and mere curiosity in the UH Libraries Special Collections.
The pop art icon’s photos include still lifes, formal portraits, and candid shots of Warhol’s famous friends, such as Princess Caroline of Monaco, Chris Evert, Pia Zadora, and even UH alumnus Julian Schnabel — all people who were influential in his life.
“They highlight his infatuation with celebrity and fame,” says Mary Manning, university archivist and curator of the Performing and Visual Art Research Collection “The iconic faces are of socialites, artists, scene-makers, and aristocracy.” Warhol left behind more than 66,000 photographs when he died in 1987.
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts gifted the collection to the Public Art of University of Houston System, which is considered to be one of the most impressive university art collections in the country. The UH system is one of a handful of Texas universities to have a curated selection of Warhol’s original photos and prints. A selection of the his photos had previously been displayed at the University in the Blaffer Art Museum and Student Center.
However, this is the first time visitors and researchers will be able to study the collection and have an intimate ineraction with an American tastemaker and a global influencer.
The photos are available for viewing in the Special Collections Reading Room on the second floor of the M.D. Anderson Library at the UH campus. Viewing schedule is 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday, and on Saturdays during the fall and spring semesters, from noon to 4 pm.