Authentic Images, starting with Andy Warhol?

This guest post is written by Heather Glaser, Assistant Fine Arts Librarian, with assistance from Elizabeth BeckKirby Bell and Ed Deegan. It describes image resources at Penn Libraries that can be very helpful for undergraduate course projects:

It seems like every semester there is a course offered on Penn’s campus that touches upon some aspect of Andy Warhol’s career and legacy.  What some folks don’t know is that part of Warhol’s early career occurred right here on Penn’s campus – specifically in the Anne & Jerome Fisher Fine Arts Library.   On October 8, 1965, Warhol’s first exhibit opened at Penn’s Institute of Contemporary Art, which was located in what is now the Fine Arts Library.  Warhol himself described the evening as:

When the kids saw me and Edie walk in, they started actually screaming.  I couldn’t believe it – one day you’re in an art gallery in Toronto and not one person comes in all day to see you, and then suddenly there are people who get hysterical at the sight of you.  It was so crazy. 

Older people in evening gowns were next to kids in jeans.  They had to lead us through the crowd – the only place we wouldn’t get mobbed was on some iron stairs that led up to a sealed off door….We were on those steps for at least two whole hours.  People were passing things up to be autographed – shopping bags, candy wrappers, address books, train tickets, soup cans.  I signed some things but Edie was signing most of them “Andy Warhol” herself. There was no way to leave – we knew we’d be mobbed as soon as we came down. 

Finally the officials ordered the fire department to break through the sealed off door behind us with crowbars, and we were led out that way, through a library, onto the roof, over an adjoining building, down a fire escape, and into waiting police cars.  Now things were getting really interesting.

Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol, 1965 (full-size photo restricted to Penn community)
Fine Arts Staircase
Same location in recent photo

Here are then-and-now photos to enjoy – of the stairs Warhol described – located right behind the circulation desk of the Fine Arts Library.

A photo of the actual scene is one of many treasures in the Fine Arts Library Image Collection, which could be an ideal source of images for your next project.

Warhol’s entire description may be read in his book currently available at the Fine Arts Library Reserve Desk (Call number NX512.W37 A2 1983):

Warhol, Andy. POPism: the Warhol ’60s. New York: Harper & Row, 1983, c1980. pp.132-133.

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