Over the next few weeks, BlackBook will be rolling out an online series of exclusive, never before seen images of pop art icon and ultimate fame whore Andy Warhol.
The images are part of the exhibit Before They Were Famous: Behind The Lens of William John Kennedy, (on view through May 29) at gallery Site/109 in New York.
The photos (like the one to the left of Warhol sandwiched between canvases of the Birmingham Race Riots) were taken by photographer William John Kennedy, one of the first photographers to capture Warhol in his early days as an artist. They’ve sat untouched for over 50 years, until Kennedy uncovered them within his archives and decided to release them.
The fact that these early images of iconic American artists happened isn’t the exciting part, necessarily. It’s that the stars aligned – literally – to create these amazingly early, naïve portraits of the artists with their own work before they were famous. “That would be like us going to the Lower East Side and finding, out of the hundreds of artists, the two rising stars, with their work, choosing it, and then all of the sudden in the future becoming something so,” said Michael Huter, founder of Kiwi Arts Group who produced the show, “allowing them to sit in a box for fifty years, and then showing them to the world. It’s so off the charts crazy!