December 5, 2007

What's in Warhol's time capsules

In the Telegraph, Warhol Museum archivist Matt Wrbican reveals that, of the 610 capsules, only 19 have been fully cataloged; 91 have been inventoried; and 40 or so have been peeked into, with notes made of their more interesting contents. All the rest are still unopened, kept in the vast, climate-controlled storage room. Thanks to a $650,000 grant by the Andy Warhol Foundation, the digital cataloging of the entire collection has begun. Three full-time archivists will spend the next three years painstakingly opening up and going through all the remaining boxes. Read more.

The Guardian's Ed Pilkington watches as capsule # 350, dated October 1983, is opened. "There was a moment of intense expectation as he used a scalpel to cut through the tape. Inside was an envelope stuffed full of used stamps, a German magazine marking the 20th anniversary of JFK's assassination, and a sampler for Maxwell House with the coffee granules still in the sachet. So far so ordinary. More evocatively, there was a poster advertising the opening night of the club Limelight, and a flyer for a party at Studio 54. Buried further into the box was a biography of James Dean by Warhol's friend David Dalton, and a copy of Lionel Richie's album Can't Slow Down, still in its cellophane wrapping. Not the most vintage time capsule, perhaps, but redolent enough of some of Warhol's preoccupations in the early 1980s. A richer catch is TC 64, one of the first to be fully itemised and studied. The box contains entries spanning a 10-year period from 1961 to 1971, several of which are highly charged. There is an invoice from MGM records from 1969 that gives that year's earnings for the Velvet Underground and Nico: $8,935.29. And there is a get-well card from Edie Sedgwick, Warhol's then close collaborator, after he was shot at close range in June 1963 by a hanger-on at the Factory called Valerie Solanas. 'Darling Andy,' Sedgwick writes. 'I was horribly upset to hear how you were severely injured. I am saying prayers for you. Don't know how much good they do, but at least you will know I care, and care tremendously.'" Read more.


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