Warhol on film: Digitization will give Andy a wider audience

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Andy Warhol was the kind of artist who knew how to stretch his 15 minutes of fame for all it was worth. When the Pittsburgh native died in 1987, he left behind nearly 1,000 rolls of original 16 mm film footage shot between 1963 and 1972, his most productive decade.

Recently, The Andy Warhol Museum on the North Side and the Museum of Modern Art in New York announced plans to work with MPC, an Oscar-winning studio that specializes in Technicolor, and Adstream, an Australian digital asset management company, to convert 500 Warhol films to digital over the next several years. Most of the 1 million feet of film Warhol shot in those years has never been seen by the public.

MoMA has had the films in storage since the 1990s, but interest in Mr. Warhol’s work, including his more obscure films, has been building in recent years. If demand for his films at MoMA’s circulating library is any indication, there’s an audience for them.

Adstream and MPC will put the decades-old footage through a conservation process before digitally scanning them frame-by-frame. This is a slow and methodical technique, but the end product will be impressive. The digital copies will have twice the resolution of high-definition television.

Pittsburghers will have a chance to see 15 Warhol films that have never been seen by the public before at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland on Oct. 17. It could be one of the hottest tickets of the fall.

Andy Warhol may not have been a big fan of Pittsburgh, but the city he left in the 1950s continues to be innovative in how it honors him.

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