Travel to 1960s New York

Posted on March 12, 2011


Screen Test of Edie Sedgwick; courtesy of MoMA

Travel to 1960s New York
by AnneLise Sorensen

What do Lou Reed, Dennis Hopper, and Edie Sedgwick have in common? Well, probably more than we’ll ever know – but that aside, they’re all currently featured at the NY MoMA. These 1960s icons are sitting nearly motionless, looking into a camera, in a series of short black-and-white films – titled “Screen Tests” – by Andy Warhol. The curators eloquently sum it up: “It’s a visual almanac of New York’s 1960s downtown avant-garde scene.” The layout does a superb job of reflecting (and gently mocking) Warhol’s celebration of celebrity. The Screen Tests, projected on gallery walls, are laughably gargantuan (some might say they mirror the purported size of Warhol’s ego). Overall, though, the effect is poetic, mesmerizing, and insightful – and, most importantly, they remind us that Warhol did a lot more than paint soup cans and Marilyn Monroe. These days, too, the pop artist seems especially prophetic. His famous quote “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes” more or less sums up reality TV. (Hear that, Snooki?)

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA):