College of Architecture, Art and Construction

Andy Warhol portraits on display at Clemson University


Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands by Andy Warhol

CLEMSON — The first gallery exhibition of the spring semester at Clemson University features original art from one of the most iconic artists of the 20th century: Andy Warhol. “Warhol: Portraits and the Everyday” is on display through March 6 at Lee Gallery, the primary exhibition space for Clemson Visual Arts (CVA).

In conjunction with the exhibition, Jonathan Flatley – the author of “Like Andy Warhol” – will deliver a special presentation about the artist during a guest appearance on Friday, Jan. 25.

“Warhol: Portraits and the Everyday” showcases the artist’s practice through three distinct but related platforms: Polaroid portraits; black-and-white photographs; and his large, colorful, screen-printed portraits. By bringing these three creative pursuits together in one gallery, viewers will get a snapshot of Warhol’s fluid approach to art and life.

Warhol’s Polaroid portraits of celebrities, couples and individuals were created as resource material for his larger commissioned screen prints. The collection of Polaroids in the exhibit present individuals in repeated but slightly different positions as directed by Warhol during their photo sessions. When viewed together, the Polaroids reveal subtle changes of expressions by the sitters. They also provide a thought-provoking counterpoint to the current fascination with selfies and the mediated presentations of identity through social media platforms.

“I was most interested in showing Polaroid portraits for what can be discovered by looking closely at the subtle changes taking place within the sitters’ expressions,” said Lee Gallery Director Denise Woodward-Detrich. “In these works, we see Warhol capturing various states of individual transformation through the simple use of repetition. These sittings allowed Warhol to select specific poses, but seen together they provide a portrait of the individual that is more complex than can be captured in one snapshot.”

Warhol’s black-and-white photographs function as a documentation of the people, places, objects and activities unfolding around him every day. For the viewer, they provide insight into the life of a famous artist, but for Warhol they were a way to collect and record things he liked and might potentially use later as a resource.

Photographs in the exhibition are on loan from the University of South Carolina-Upstate and East Tennessee State University. Both universities were granted original Warhol photographs for viewing and study as part of the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program, organized by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The Legacy Program distributed Warhol’s photographic works to colleges and universities across the country to provide greater access to these relatively unknown bodies of work.

Jonathan Flatley’s presentation on his recent book, “Like Andy Warhol,” will be from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Lee Hall auditorium (Lee 2-111). A followup discussion will move into the Lee Gallery. Flatley is an associate professor of English at Wayne State University in Detroit. He is the author of “Affective Mapping: Melancholia and the Politics of Modernism” and co-editor of “Pop Out: Queer Warhol.”

Flatley’s presentation is made possible through the sponsorship of the Humanities Hub at Clemson University.

The “Warhol: Portraits and the Everyday” exhibition is open to visitors 9 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday through March 6. All events are free and open to the public.

For more information about the exhibit, contact Lee Gallery Director Denise Woodward-Detrich at

The art galleries and showcases at Clemson University
The Lee Gallery oversees five galleries on the main campus, which showcase regional, national and international artists exploring a broad range of ideas, materials and creative processes. In partnership with academic programs and university initiatives, the Lee Gallery develops exhibitions that examine contemporary issues and prompt discourse.

Clemson University galleries and showcase spaces include Lee Gallery in Lee Hall; the Acorn Gallery in Lee Hall II; the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities Dean’s Gallery in Strode Tower; the lobby in the Brooks Center for Performing Arts; and the first floor showcase at the main administration building, Sikes Hall.

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