Being a Host in Warhol: Immortal

As Te Papa hosts we get to see, interact and work with some amazing things. Since I started 4 years ago I have been immersed in the final 24 hours of Pompeii, spent my days with works by some of the great European masters, been surrounded by the intricate tapa of the Pacific and recently discovered the surprisingly rich history of video games. Not to mention every day of the year we proudly show our own diverse and fantastic history and culture. Every exhibition brings its challenges and its surprises and many leave you with a passion you never knew you had.

Warhol: Immortal has most definitely done that for me. And I got the opportunity to star in my very own Warhol Screentest:

When I applied for the role of Exhibition supervisor I would have said I liked some of Warhol’s work but really didn’t know much about him beyond one 20th century Art history paper I did a few years back. I did some research as part of the interview process and something hooked me. Beyond the works themselves, it was the fascinating and sometimes bizarre man behind them. Once you find the passion it isn’t that difficult to then spent 3 and a bit months surrounded by it. Everyday I find something else to love about the exhibition.

We are constantly asked by visitors what our favourite work is; mine changes almost daily. For a while it was the 2 portraits of Sylvester Stallone: Andy managed to capture an innocence in his eyes that is rarely seen from the action hero. We have clips from “15 minutes of fame with Andy Warhol” where you can see stars of the 80s such as Judd Nelson and Jerry Hall interacting with Andy and discussing some truly odd things.

In the late afternoon, when the exhibition is quiet I like being in the Silver clouds room, Someone said to me “it’s so relaxing, It’s like being underwater”.

One of the most exciting moments I had in the lead up to Warhol: Immortal was poking my head through the door while the gallery was still a construction site late at night and seeing the edge of the brick wall, partially covered in tin foil. This is where the Screentest machine now sits. It consists of a silver wall, a stool and a retrofitted video camera. You can take a four minute video of yourself doing whatever you please (within the realms of public decency). You are shot at 24 frames per minute then the video is emailed to you, having been slowed down to 16 frames.

Here’s Todd, one of our hosts, starring in his Screentest:

It is one of the coolest little interactives and such popular part of the exhibition that it deserves its own blog post to truly give it justice. Come back to the blog to see and hear all about the Warhol: Immortal Screentests.

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