Retro Warhol

SCREEN TESTS (REELS 5, 7, 19, 20, 24, 27)

Andy Warhol
USA 1963
250 min

The first Screen Test
Sometime in December 1963, a couple of months before our move to the 47th Street Factory, I asked Andy to shoot a roll of movie film framed as a «headshot» composition that I could then replicate as a publicity headshot.
The double- or multiple-frame reproduction, sprockets and all, was nothing new, but had its origins with Stan Brakhages <i>Anticipation Of The Night </i>(1958) and <i>Window Water Baby Moving</i> (1959), conveying a cinematic quality in reproduction and not meant as an artistic device at all.
After studying the 8 x 10 inch photoprint, which I had chosen from the original footage, Andy and I thought this would be a quick way to continue as a series. The title just came to us, <i>Screen Tests,</i> a homage to a bygone Hollywood era.
Andy toyed with the idea of using this material for a series of silkscreen paintings which he did not pursue, opting for the photobooth pictures instead, which to his mind were both expedient and less costly. This, too, was abandoned, yet we continued the movie film portraits, which took on a momentum all their own.
So, in a sense, the <i>Screen Test</i> portraits happened quite by accident, and were not initially a conscious effort on our part.
Gerard Malanga,
«Archiving Warhol», N.Y. 2002

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