Watch Andy Warhol use the Amiga 1000 to paint a portrait of Debbie Harry

A trove of Andy Warhol masterpieces were discovered, painted via computer at the behest of Commodore International VIDEO

Topics: Video, Andy Warhol, Art, floppy disks, technology, creativity, cool culture, ideas, ,

Watch Andy Warhol use the Amiga 1000 to paint a portrait of Debbie HarryAndy Warhol, Campbell’s, 1985(Credit: ©The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.)

Today the Andy Warhol Museum announced that a collection of never before seen Warhol art had been uncovered from Amiga floppy disks. The artwork was commissioned by Commodore International and used an Amiga 1000 computer, and saved on floppy disks.

While it’s hard not to focus on the incredible fact that the works were extracted from nearly extinct hardware, another technology played an important role in the discovery: YouTube. The artwork may have never been uncovered had it not been for artist Cory Arcangel, who saw a video clip of Warhol in 1985 promoting the release of the Amiga 1000. (Who can say if this is the clip Arcangel saw, but here Warhol is using Amiga 1000 to paint Debbie Harry.)

The search wound Arcangel to the Carnegie Museum of Art, and eventually with the help of curator Tina Kukielski to Carnegie Melon University’s Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, run by Golan Levin. Levin led them to the CMU Computer Cab.

Matt Wrbican, the chief archivists at The Warhol Museum (and a former Amiga) user, helped them get access to the disks and eventually the team from both CMU Computer Club and Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry were able to extract the art.

Warhol and Pop Art, turned consumerism into high art and blurred the lines between them. He was also an avid user of his day’s new technology — video, film and even computing. In its biography of the artist, the Warhol Foundation calls Warhol, “A skilled (analog) social networker.”

“In the images, we see a mature artist who had spent about 50 years developing a specific hand-to-eye coordination now suddenly grappling with the bizarre new sensation of a mouse in his palm held several inches from the screen,” said Wrbican. “No doubt he resisted the urge to physically touch the screen — it had to be enormously frustration, but also marked a huge transformation in our culture: the dawn of the era of affordable home computing.”

“Predating the hyper-personal outlets now provided online,” the Warhol Foundation writes, “Warhol captured life’s every minute detail in all its messy, ordinary glamour and broadcast it through his work, to a wide and receptive audience.”

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows


Loading Comments...