The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh has recovered a rare set of images created by one of the 20th-century’s leading artist using an early home computer. The images have been trapped on floppy disks for over twenty years.
Warhol’s never-before-seen images were created using a Commodore Amiga 1000 home computer, as part of a collaborative project with Commodore International, an early manufacturer of home computers. While the Amiga series was considered a less expensive alternative to IBM and Apple computers, it was known for its graphics capabilities and found a foothold in computer-based design.
The images were discovered by artist Cory Arcangel, after a chance viewing of a 1985 video showing Warhol, the artist most associated with the “pop art” movement, using an Amiga 1000 computer to digitally edit an image of singer Debbie Harry of the band Blondie, on YouTube. After watching the video, Arcangel enlisted the help of Carnegie Mellon University’s Computer Club – as well as several specially trained artists, archivists, and curators – to take part in the retrieval of the lost images.
Prior to Arcangel’s involvement, the set of images referred to as Andy Warhol’s Amiga Experiment were spread across 41 dust-collecting floppy disks stored in the Warhol Museum’ archives.
The entire retrieval process was documented by a Carnegie Museum of Art film crew and will be presented at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh as “Trapped: Andy Warhol’s Amiga Experiments,” on May 10; the documentary will also be available online starting May 12.