Whether it was Campbell’s soup cans or Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol knew how to take a single portrait and reveal wholly new facets of its subject. So it’s appropriate that a new art show about Warhol would use his own face as the canvas.
Opening May 1, The Lost Warhols brings together a collection of 66 artworks that use one of 10 never-before-seen portraits of the pop art icon as their inspiration at a SoHo gallery space (178 Sixth Ave.).
The original images were taken by photographer Karen Bystedt, who got Warhol to sit for a portrait session in 1982 by cold-calling the artist. Though she was just a 19-year-old film student at New York University at the time, Warhol agreed.
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Bystedt published two of the 36 photos she took during that session in her 1983 book Not Just Another Pretty Face, and put the rest in storage. Forgotten until 2011, the negatives were damaged to the point that she and a friend spent four months restoring the 10 salvageable images pixel by pixel. She then invited artists, including neo-pop legend Peter Tunney, to use her pictures as the basis for their own interpretations of Warhol.
“The art in this collection is close to my heart and having it here in New York — where Andy was a king — is something I know he would have loved,” says Bystedt.
The Lost Warhols will remain on view through May 22, where when all of the images will be sold at a live auction. Half of the proceeds going to benefit the hunger-relief organization God’s Love We Deliver.
And for more Warhol, look for the Whitney Museum’s massive retrospective From A to B and Back Again, set to open in November.