Before They Were Famous: Behind the Lens of William John Kennedy, presented by Miami’s KIWI Arts Group, will debut in New York City on April 19 and, concurrently, in Indianapolis on April 27, 2012. The exhibition features recently unveiled images of Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana from the photographer’s personal archives, which laid in storage for nearly 50 years. Before They Were Famous will be on view April 19–May 29 at Site/109 on Norfolk Street in New York City–just blocks from where some of these historic images were taken–and, from April 27–May 31 as a collaboration between ModernMasters Fine Art and the Conrad Indianapolis in Indiana, Robert Indiana’s native state and a recurrent theme in his work.
“William John Kennedy’s newly discovered photographs reveal a side of Warhol not often seen,” says Eric Shiner, director of the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. “He surrounds himself with his imagery, becoming an integral part of the environment and forever linking himself with the image at hand. The photographs are both engaging and rare, and they most definitely depict the artist at a pivotal moment, just before his career exploded.”
At Pop Art’s pivotal moment in 1963, American photographer William John Kennedy instinctively identified Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana as the rising art stars, capturing them with what ultimately became two of the world’s most iconic images—Andy’s Marilyn and Indiana’s LOVE. Kennedy’s relationship with them began when Indiana invited him to document the groundbreaking Americans 1963 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, which included a blue-chip roster of artists such as Rosenquist, Oldenburg and Lichtenstein, as well as the young Indiana and Warhol.
The Kennedy collection of silver gelatin and chromogenic photographs, solely published by KIWI Arts Group, reveals some of the only known images of the artists with their original works. After decades in storage, the pristine negatives are now being used to produce these historic images at Duggal— the same famous NY lab that processed the original negatives. This collection has traveled to select cities over the past 14 months; the New York City premiere marks the realization of a lifelong dream for the 81-year-old Kennedy and an important milestone for this exhibition.
Full Circle: Before They Were Famous, the 2010 short documentary that chronicles the journey of Kennedy’s images as they were made public, will be screened in both New York and Indianapolis. Featuring a candid Robert Indiana in his Vinalhaven studio, along with Warhol superstars Ultra Violet and Taylor Mead, among others, the film provides rare and humorous insights into the worlds of Warhol and Indiana during the emergence of the Pop Art movement.
Site/109 is located at 109 Norfolk Street between Rivington and Delancey Streets. Before They Were Famous will be open from April 19 – May 29, with a public reception slated for April 22 from 5-8PM. Exhibition hours are Wednesday-Sunday from 12-6PM daily; open by appointment on Mondays and Tuesdays. For more information, please visit www.site109.com.
The Conrad Indianapolis is located at 50 West Washington Street. Presented by ModernMasters Fine Art and the Conrad Hotels, in association with publisher KIWI Arts Group, the exhibit features more than 50 rare photographs of Warhol and Indiana and will be on view from April 27 – May 31. For more information, please visit www.modernmastersfab.com or www.conradindianapolis.com.
For a schedule of screenings, book signings, guided tours and special events, please visit www.kiwiartsgroup.com.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
William John Kennedy, a long-time resident of Miami Beach, studied at Syracuse University, the School of Visual Arts, and Pratt Institute. After working in the 1950s as an assistant and studio manager for renowned Vogue fashion photographer Clifford Coffin, Kennedy enjoyed a rewarding career as a top freelance editorial photographer in New York City. His work appeared in publications such as LIFE Magazine and Sports Illustrated. In the commercial arena he created national and international campaigns for corporate clients including Avon, GE, IBM, RJR Nabisco, American Express, and Xerox. Throughout his professional life, Kennedy has continued his passion for fine art photography and developed a full body of work.
ABOUT KIWI ARTS GROUP
KIWI Arts Group is a fine art publishing house that transcends the traditional artist-gallery relationship with unique vision and skill. Its mission is to identify talent, create and disseminate multimedia documentation that articulately reveals the artist’s proper historical context, and successfully manage all aspects of marketing and sales on an international scale. For more information, please call 305-200-3047 or visit www.kiwiartsgroup.com