Back in my art school days, I had a fascination with the people making up the Factory entourage – the rag tag collection of interesting, idiosyncratic individuals surrounding Andy Warhol, that could be counted on to partake in all manners of artistically expressive and creative endeavors. When the Wexner Center for the Arts offered an immersion experience of Warhol’s films, I went to see a number of them – single subject, voyeuristic tales with names like Empire, Blowjob, and Sleep. To be perfectly honest, the storylines weren’t great – in fact, it was pretty damn hard to stay awake. The big takeaway for me was the intensity of his detached observation, separated from the subject by a camera lens.
The Warhol exhibit which had been up since October, closed this past weekend. We, along with every other procrastinator in town, scrambled to make it down there, before it was gone. Some of my favorite pieces were from his earlier work – very likely because it was fun to see the stuff that isn’t so famous – it hasn’t yet gotten lost in its overexposure. Interestingly, photography was allowed for this exhibit. I wish I had known – I would have brought my camera. As it happened, I didn’t, and you will have to make do with phone photos for this week’s Vignette. As I look at the photos I snapped, I realize that I too have voyeuristic tendencies. I found watching others study and react to the art works as interesting as the works themselves, especially as they too often watched it through the filter of their own devices. As they photographed the works, I hid behind my lens, and photographed them. Kind of a peculiar act of interactive distancing, don’tcha think?