Representation Group: Street Art House
"The Lost Warhol"
In 1982, Karen Bystedt, then a tenacious young film student, cold-called Andy Warhol at Interview Magazine and asked he pose for her book-in-progress featuring the era’s top male models. She had come across an image of the legendary artist modeling for Barney’s and hoped to capture the icon in this unique context, positioned amongst faces renowned for their aesthetic ideal; she endeavored to preserve an image of the man made infamous for making models as a model himself. Warhol asked Bystedt whom else she intended to include in this book, upon hearing her answers, he swiftly agreed to join the fold. The resulting images materialize a rare and remarkable sense of vulnerability; in this portrait session, Bystedt captures a soft and submissive Warhol, a man who spoke much of beauty, and its essential mystery, and as is suggested in his rigid pose, his bewildering gaze, and simply, his participation in her project, seemingly so wanted to be seen as beautiful himself.
Bystedt included two of the thirty-six photos shot that afternoon in her book Not Just Another Pretty Facepublished by Nal, and placed the negatives in storage, where they lived untouched for twenty-five years. The movements of an artist are so often mysterious to the artist themselves, as if a mystical wind directed the creative spirit, engulfing cerebral elements and ineffable impulses in its power. In 2011, Bystedt felt firmly compelled to revisit her representations of Andy and unearth the images captured that afternoon. She was able to locate ten of her original negatives, yet time and its offspring, reality, had taken its toll on her spellbinding photographs. She dedicated the preceding four months to restoring her Andy, pixel-by-pixel, infusing new life, breath by breath, into her images.