They're flipping over Warhol's floppies
PITTSBURGH - They aren't exactly the Monuments Men.
But the technological sleuthing it took a group of Carnegie Mellon University students and alumni to recover and preserve some digital images apparently created and stored by Andy Warhol on old-school floppy computer disks nearly 30 years ago is a tale worth telling.
The Andy Warhol Museum, CMU, and the Carnegie Museum of Art - which all had a hand in the project - revealed the story Thursday in three news releases that included some of the images.
Those three images of an altered Botticelli's Venus, a Warhol self-portrait, and a Campbell's soup can - of 28 that were found on the disks - were enough to excite Warhol fanatics around the world over the possibility that something - anything - new by the King of Pop Art had been revealed.
They were created on Warhol's Commodore Amiga computer in 1985 and included versions of some of his other most iconic images such as a banana and Marilyn Monroe, neither of which have been released yet, and may never be.
Matt Wrbican, the Andy Warhol Museum's chief archivist, said the interest was understandable for one of the world's most prolific and studied artists.
And, like the discovery of a missing masterpiece, within hours of the Warhol discovery's hitting the Internet and going around the world, Wrbican heard from someone who does not believe that Warhol himself created the images the computer sleuths found.
A man who worked with the now-defunct Amiga World magazine - which did a story in 1986 on Warhol and his use of the Amiga computer - called after reading a story on the discovery Thursday and said he "doesn't think Warhol actually made a lot of those images," Wrbican said.
Wrbican said he would talk more with the person who called - he could not recall his name - and "we'll discuss it with him."
But if the images were not solely by Warhol - who died in 1987 - on the computer, it would not necessarily affect their historic value.
"Like a lot of his work, it was a collaboration," Wrbican said.