Rare Andy Warhol art pieces recovered from Amiga disks

24 Apr 2014

Andy Warhol's self-portrait

Rare pieces of art created by legendary American artist Andy Warhol have been recovered from a number of Amiga disks, many of which feature his signature, digitised during 1985.

The pieces of art were originally commissioned as part of a deal signed between Warhol and Amiga to produce the series of digital paintings for the release of the Amigo 1000 console. It has taken a team from Carnegie Melon University’s computer club, comprised of staff and students, three years of trying to extract the images in a visible format, one that has been defunct and lost since it was first launched nearly 30 years.

The Amiga 1000 was one of the most visually advanced computers of its time and was the first personal computer Commodore launched in the Amiga range.

Andy Warhol's Amiga 1000

Andy Warhol’s Amiga 1000

The project to revive the imagery originated from a proposal from another artist and die-hard Warhol fan Cory Arcangel, who upon seeing a clip of the news conference announcing the launch back in the 1980s, tracked down the Amiga computer used to create the images. After much work to extract the files with names such as campbells.pic and marilyn1.pic, Arcangel was able to see them in all their 12-bit glory.

While many of the paintings were reworkings of some of Warhol’s most famous works, other files contained totally new works, such as the portrait of Blondie singer Debbie Harry.

His infamous Campbell's Soup can re-worked

Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup can reworked

The new images will be displayed in the Andy Warhol Museum, along with many of his other more traditional paint and canvas pieces.

Speaking of the new artwork, chief archivist of the museum Matt Wrbican says Warhol was very interested in working with digital artwork and pondered what he would have done with modern technology.

“In the images, we see a mature artist who had spent about 50 years developing a specific hand-to-eye co-ordination now suddenly grappling with the bizarre new sensation of a mouse in his palm held several inches from the screen … We can only wonder how he would explore and exploit the technologies that are so ubiquitous today.”



(All images via The Andy Warhol Foundation)

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic