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Mounting Andy Warhol’s Polaroids

By Diana Diaz Canas

“Isn’t life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?”—Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol’s Polaroid photographs (or dye diffusion prints) included in the Ransom Center’s exhibition Look Inside: New Photography Acquisitions were taken between 1974 and 1983. Friends, lovers, patrons, celebrities, and many others who crossed the artist’s path are captured in these instant images. Along the edges of almost every print a dry stamp reads ©Andy Warhol, and each photograph has a blue ink stamp on the back. Both photographs and stamps are very sensitive to humidity and pressure, so conservators avoided the use of adhesives or weights when mounting these photographs for the exhibition.

 

Magnets were a suitable option, so an aluminum plate was used as support, and a thin museum board was placed on top of it. Then, one by one the photographs were placed on top of the board and held in the four corners with small magnets, which were then covered with white paper for an attractive appearance. Small pieces of paper, cut to magnet size and placed between the photographs and the magnets, protect the prints’ surface.

An exhibition visitor views the Andy Warhol photographs.
The Andy Warhol Polaroids in the galleries.
Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987). Unidentified Woman, 1980. Dye diffusion print, 10.8 x 8.5 cm. Harry Ransom Center, gift of the Andy Warhol Foundation © 2016 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987). Margaret Krebs, 1981. Dye diffusion print, 10.8 x 8.5 cm. Harry Ransom Center, gift of the Andy Warhol Foundation © 2016 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Diana Diaz preparing Andy Warhol’s Polaroids for the exhibition.
Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987). Robert Miller, 1983. Dye diffusion print, 10.8 x 8.5 cm. Harry Ransom Center, gift of the Andy Warhol Foundation © 2016 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987). Pelé, 1977. Dye diffusion print, 10.8 x 8.5 cm. Harry Ransom Center, gift of the Andy Warhol Foundation © 2016 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

 

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