Andy Warhol Amiga Preservation (2011-14)
Cory Arcangel

‘Amiga Preservation’ has been realised in collaboration with: The Carnegie Museum of Art, The Andy Warhol Museum, The Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry and the Carnegie Mellon Computer Club.

Cory Arcangel is behind one of most high-profile digital art restoration projects in recent years. Working with members of the Carnegie Mellon University Computer Club and the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, the artist recovered 12 image files from Andy Warhol’s personal computer, six of which are reproduced here.

In 1985, Warhol was hired by Commodore International to help promote their latest, and best performing machine to date: the Amiga 1000 (a YouTube video of the launch, during which the Pop artist created a portrait of Debbie Harry live, has reached cult status in some circles). Warhol also produced several more pieces in the studio. Some of them (still unpublished) were retrieved by Commodore’s former CFO, Don Greenbaum, from his personal equipment in 2011, but many of Warhol’s digital artworks remained untouched for decades on floppy disks stored in the Warhol Museum archive.

It took three years and astute retro-computing to open up image files whose format had become unreadable. Warhol had given the digital treatment to some of his favorite motifs – Marilyn Monroe, flowers, himself – often adding his signature in clumsy pixels. The Amiga Preservation project gives insight into a fascinating chapter in the early days of computer-generated art. But perhaps more than that, it is a celebration of the unpolished aesthetic of early image editing software. Arcangel’s Andy Warhol Amiga Preservation marked the moment when digital archeology entered art history. CM

Watch a documentary about the project here.

All digital images below credited to The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. © 2017 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London.

Andy Warhol, Andy, 1985

From disk 1998.3.2129.1.3.2

Andy Warhol, Andy1, 1985

From disk 1998.3.2129.3.4

Andy Warhol, Campbells, 1985

From disk 1998.3.2129.3.22


Andy Warhol, Marilyn1, 1985

From disk 1998.3.2129.3.22

Andy Warhol, Banana, 1985

From disk 1998.3.2129.3.4


Andy Warhol, Freddy, 1985

From disk 1998.3.2137.1.9