Hotel Bel-Air to Showcase Andy Warhol and Maripol Exhibits

Hotel Bel-Air and the Hedges Collection are set to host dual exhibitions showcasing artists Andy Warhol and Maripol. Guests and locals alike will have the chance to discover the James R. Hedges IV Collection of Andy Warhol Photography—the largest of its sort in the world. The exhibitions will be open to the public from February 14 to April 14, 2022.

A prolific collector since Warhol’s death in 1987, Hedges has acquired an impressive selection of Warhol’s photos, including hundreds of Polaroids, photo booth strips, screen tests, silver gelatin prints and more. Additionally, Maripol has taken seven of her most notable images and produced a limited edition in monumental scale. Drawing on her most famous images, the exhibition will showcase her most glittering subjects in a grand scale.

All Andy Warhol photos on display at Hotel Bel-Air were taken by the artist in the last decade of his life and include celebrity portraits, Hollywood stars, Studio 54 moments and still-life photos. The images were acquired either from Warhol’s Estate and Foundation or from members of Warhol’s innermost circle of confidants and collaborators, such as “The Andy Warhol Diaries” editor, Pat Hackett. The show will provide a peek into the artist’s mind and everyday life, besides a generous dollop of celebrity and glamour.

Andy Warhol was a life-long advocate of photography. As a child in Pittsburgh, the young artist had a dark room in the basement of his home. He carried a camera with him, known as “his date,” throughout most of his entire adult life. For Warhol, photography was a tool to document his own life, that of his friends and associates, and ultimately as a critical element used to create the majority of his art work. 

Initially in the 1950s, Warhol used a hand-held Polaroid camera to memorialize his friends and social outings. Next, he began experimenting with film in the 1960s and created 16mm short portraits he called “screen-tests.” Later, his work included long-format, conceptually driven narrative feature films including titles such as “Heat,” “Bad,” “Empire,” and “Sleep.”

Well known for his use of photo appropriation from Hollywood film stills and newspapers (e.g. Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, Marlon Brando, Jackie O, etc.), in the late 1960s Warhol was sued for copyright infringement for the use of an appropriated image. Then onwards, Warhol committed to using his own photographs as source material for his prints and paintings.

In the latter 1960s, Warhol would take friends, art patrons, gallery owners and anonymous people he encountered to Times Square for Photo Booth portraits. Removing the hand of the artist, using a machine to make art, serial repetition of the image, and distancing himself from the process all became hallmarks of the artist’s practice thenceforward.

While Warhol used the Polaroid camera throughout his career, it became the primary tool from which he created prints and paintings for the last 10 years of his life. During that same period, Warhol used a 35 mm camera daily and took over 100,000 photos but printed only a fraction of those. It is these 35 mm black-and-white silver gelatin prints that provide the greatest insight into the artist’s mind, and a perspective understood by very few.

The exhibitions are complimentary and open to the public seven days a week. All photos are available for purchase through the hotel’s concierge.

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