Tonight we play host to a truly unique moment in the art of performance.”Exposed: Songs for Unseen Warhol Films” is a marriage of sound and celluloid that has been a long time in the making, and its arrival to the Royce stage tomorrow marks one of those especially gratifying moments as a curator, when the dreaming of a few coalesces into an extraordinary experience for many.
A couple of years ago I was approached by a great colleague, Ben Harrison, at the Andy Warhol Museum about co-commissioning this project (then untitled, and then just a concept). They had located a number of Warhol’s short films in their collection that were related to the “Screen Tests” he filmed quite regularly, but were of a somewhat different nature. More like a cinema portrait in a way than a “screen test” – but that is a nuance I have likely invented as a way to officially organize it in my own mind. (As one does.)
Ben had been involved in the development of the precursor to “Exposed,” which was called “13 Most Beautiful” – the cinema screen tests shot by Andy, which had Dean & Britta performing live in a concert setting. Dean Wareham and Britta composed the music and if I recall (this was 2006 I think), were part of the creative force that conceived the idea to begin with. It toured extensively, and I saw it in Sydney years ago.
Wareham, this time around, wanted to broaden out the music collaborators, so for this project, he is both the curator/music director and also a composer/performer. I guess that is four roles rather than two!
What I loved hearing about, behind the scenes as the project started to take shape, was the restoration process of the films themselves from the conservators at the Warhol museum, and their insights about the pieces of cinema along with the film curator.
Of course getting updates on which musicians were then engaged and what they were working on and how it was taking shape was also pretty exciting.
So, here we are, two years later – restored Warhol films, a massive amount of music and artistry that has come together for a three – city engagement after so much detailing and creative time has been spent behind the scenes. I am sure the project will go on after it is performed in the ‘homes’ of the three organizations that committed early on to support the development time it needed, which include the Center, The Andy Warhol Museum and BAM.
As with anything connected to Warhol – everyone seems to have a story about “Andy” and along the way of this, I have heard many…..real and imagined….people are compelled to tell you about “the time when…..”
I swear, Andy Warhol has had dinner and drinks with people that were not even born during the Factory years – and that will probably be the case for decades to come.
Indeed, part of the impetus behind this work is to celebrate the 20-year history of The Andy Warhol Museum, which has done much to ensure that Andy’s memory and influence continues to loom large.
My story about Andy is tied to this moment in time, to the preservation and presentation of these incredible lost films, the talented and varied music artists who are helping bring them to life for us.