June 1, 2021

A Day Filming Warhol’s Cows

‘After Warhol’ – A Day Filming Warhol’s Cows

Warhol and Screen Printing

For 10 years, Paul has been working on After Warhol. This collection of screenprints using a selection of Warhol’s original acetates has been lauded in various publications (VICE, BBC). 

Screen printing, also known as silkscreen printing and serigraph printing, involves a blade or squeegee pushing ink across a mesh. The ink permeates areas of the mesh or acetate where gaps have been left for the ink. As a result, the ink marks only the parts of paper that are desired, in a clean and repeatable fashion. 

Silk screen printing example.

Warhol began working with famed New York screenprinter Alexander Heinrici in the 1960s. At the time screen printing was not overly popular, most didn’t know how to do it, and some even argued that it wasn’t art due to the machinery involved. 

Heinrici even recounts Warhol saying “Once in a while you have to make mistakes so it looks like a Warhol!”

Screen printing was a technique popularly used to make wallpaper, and Warhol created his Cow Wallpaper for an April 1966 show at the Leo Castelli Gallery. At this show, one room consisted solely of the Cow Wallpaper, on all four walls. 

Warhol at the Leo Castelli Gallery, April 1966.

Paul Stephenson, Posthumous Warhols, Tripod Thievery

Back to the present day, on 28th April, Jonas and Wilder headed to South London to film Paul Stephenson in action. Paul is printing Cow screen prints using Warhol’s original acetates. Warhol’s attitudes towards screen printing, and his opinion that anyone should be able to make his prints, are what lead to these being regarded as ‘After Warhol’. Paul and Jonas are old friends, and have been working on films of Paul’s art for some time. 

Paul Stephenson with an original Warhol acetate.

Professor Rainer Crone, a leading specialist on Warhol’s art, has said of ‘After Warhol’,

“These are fantastic, they are in Warhol’s concept… In my expertise [sic] opinion paintings made with these film positives under described circumstances and executed posthumously by professionals (scholars as well as painters) are authentic Andy Warhol paintings.”

For Paul, creating these prints is a fascinating exercise, as people question the authorship. Of the project, he says “I like the idea of turning the art world upside down, I think Andy liked it too.” Warhol named his studio The Factory, and this approach feels fittingly in-line with that. 

Jonas and Wilder were able to capture the very hands-on and physical work of screen printing. Far from modern machine printing, the act and process feels that bit more painterly, and it was the dedication and care that they aimed to capture. The moment of adding the half-tone, where you really see the print come to life, is a particularly treasurable moment.

Unfortunately, a little disaster was suffered on the day, after someone stole a Film Yard Art tripod. Thieves running rampant around London is a sore note to end on, so we’ll instead leave you thinking about Warhol’s Cows, as shown in the film we produced.

 

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