Warhol on film


Andy Warhol knew how to stretch his 15 minutes of fame for all it was worth. When the artist died in 1987, he left behind nearly 1,000 rolls of original 16-millimeter film footage shot between 1963 and 1972 — his most productive decade.

The Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Andy Warhol Museum in his hometown of Pittsburgh are working with MPC, a studio that specializes in Technicolor, and Adstream, a digital asset management company, to convert 500 Warhol films to digital presentation during the next few years. Most of the million feet of film Mr. Warhol shot in those years has never been seen by the public.

MoMA has had the films in storage since the 1990s. But interest in Mr. Warhol’s work, including his more obscure films, is growing. If demand for his films at MoMA’s circulating library is any indication, there’s an audience for them.

Adstream and MPC will put the footage through a conservation process before scanning them frame by frame. This is a slow, methodical technique, but the digital copies will have twice the resolution of high-definition TV.

Digitization will give Mr. Warhol’s work a wider audience.