Andy Warhol’s Having a Really Big Few Months

Kevin Dooley

When Andy Warhol famously said that “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes,” he couldn’t have been talking about himself. Two and a half decades after his death, he shows no sign of leaving the spotlight. In the past few months, he’s been popping up everywhere, alongside the discoveries of some of his lesser-known art.

For instance, the Luckman Gallery in Los Angeles is currently exhibiting a series of Warhol’s Polaroid photographs that have never before been on display. LA Weekly describes the particularly Warholian appeal of the show:

Set in glass cases, the tiny photos showcase Warhol’s knack for capturing not only the physical features of his subjects — mostly visitors to the Factory, the studio where Warhol worked — but also their personalities. Their small size forces viewers to slow down and look more closely, and there are multiple photos of some of the people. In a digital camera, the less ideal ones would probably get deleted with the push of a button but here the many shots become little clues to each subject’s personality.

In March, California will also be home to another exciting West coast Warhol debut—his 1968 film “San Diego Surf” will be playing at The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. The surf movie, shot with 16mm cameras near where it will play, was never finished in Warhol’s lifetime. It remained locked up for decades until it was unearthed for the first time for Art Basel Miami Beach in 2011. The San Diego showing will also feature never-before-seen footage of the making of “San Diego Surf,” so Warhol fans that want to catch a glimpse of the man behind the camera won’t be disappointed.

This week, Planet Money also reported that Warhol’s (very rough) sketch on paper of the U.S. unemployment rate from 1928 to 1987 was going up for auction at Christie’s soon. Estimated sale price? $20,000 to $30,000. Not bad for what looks like something scribbled on one of those big notepads in a corporate conference room.

Not only is Warhol’s art still being discussed, dissected, and sold, his influence continues to reverberate in very contemporary culture.

In the cover story of this week’s TIME, for instance, Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow reveals what (or who) inspired her to first switch from painting to film when she was a young artist. As Vulture quotes Bigelow’s profile:

“I think I had a conversation with Andy Warhol somewhere in all this, and Andy was saying that there’s something way more populist about film than art — that art’s very elitist, so you’re excluding a large audience. ” Yep, she got into making movies because of a conversation with Andy Warhol. (“In the future, everyone will have a world-famous fifteen-minute torture scene.”)

It shouldn’t be all that surprising that Warhol’s influence is apparent everywhere, considering how he changed the way we see something as banal as a can of tomato soup.

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