Art: William John Kennedy: The Warhol Museum Edition Opens at Kiwi Art

Photographer William John Kennedy and his wife, Marie, were driving their Volkswagen Beetle through Flushing, Queens in the early 1960s when they spotted a field of eight-foot-high Black-Eyed Susans.

This made Kennedy think of his good friend, who was slaving away on a painting of similar flowers. So, Kennedy called him.

“Well, pick me up!” Andy Warhol exclaimed.

And they did. The couple grabbed the artist, stuffed his “Flowers” paintings in the back of their Beetle and drove back to the field. They all spent the afternoon frolicking among the flowers while Kennedy snapped photographs of Warhol and his art.

During the early 1960s, Kennedy developed a strong friendship with Warhol and Indiana (who introduced the two). All three were struggling young artists in New York City. trying to make a name for themselves.

As most photographers do, Kennedy shot his friends while they were going about their daily lives. What Kennedy didn’t know is that his friends would be among the most famous artists of our time.

The photographs sat in a dusty box for 50 years, never digitally retouched, or even cropped. They depict Warhol with “Flowers,” with his famous Marilyn Monroe piece, and lounging around The Factory.

“The two things in Andy Warhol’s life were art and his mother. And his mother came first,” Kennedy said. “If he didn’t know you, and you didn’t know him, Andy Warhol was very beige,” Kennedy said, chuckling. “I always had to ask him questions, poke around and provoke conversation, but then a rainbow of ideas came flowing from him.”

KIWI Arts Group will open a special exhibition of William John Kennedy: The Warhol Museum Edition, produced in partnership with The Andy Warhol Museum on June 27.  This first print portfolio of work is a box set released by The Andy Warhol Museum, which reveal Warhol in a new way. The set (in an edition of 50) features five signed and numbered photographs of Andy Warhol (1928-1987) in 1964, just prior to the Silver Factory era. The portfolio’s specially designed aluminum archival box includes a foreword written by The Warhol Museum’s Director Eric Shiner and an introduction by esteemed art historian Thomas E. Crow. During the opening reception Perrier will also introduce the Perrier limited edition Warhol bottles to the Miami market.  The iconic artist’s screen prints for the sparkling water brand may not be as famous as Campbell’s Soup, but as the gallery presents a photography collection that looks as Warhol through a historical lens, viewers will also get to experience the sheer scope of his influences. The exhibit runs through August 23.  Opening reception from 6pm – 10pm. KIWI Arts Group Project Space, 117 NE 1st Ave; Miami. For info: kiwiartsgroup.com

 

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