On Friday, July 17, 2020 the Newport Art Museum will host its annual summer fundraiser, the Artists’ Ball, a tradition that dates back to 1927. One of the most highly anticipated and lively cultural events of Newport’s summer season, the Art Museum’s festive dinner dance attracts cultural and civic leaders, artists, collectors, philanthropists, and other art-world notables from across the country. The evening’s special guest will be Bob Colacello, a longtime friend and biographer of Andy Warhol, as well as editor of Warhol’s Interview for thirteen years. All proceeds from the Artists’ Ball are in support of the Art Museum’s extensive exhibition program, permanent collection, public programs, community outreach, and preservation of its historically-significant buildings. The evening will premiere two exhibitions; “Andy Warhol: Big Shot” and “Private Moments: Photographs from Another Era by Bob Colacello,” both organized by the Newport Art Museum.

Artists’ Ball 2020 co-chairs, Sam BoltonCharlie BurnsMarie Samuels and Maura Smith, have planned an extraordinary evening that takes its cue from Warhol’s hipster hangout, his original Factory studio on New York City’s East 47th Street. Silver, red, and a lot of glitter and glam will create a “POP” atmosphere from the Museum’s courtyard to the dinner-dance tent.

The dinner, prepared by Blackstone Caterers and inspired by Andy Warhol, will begin appropriately with tomato soup, move to an entrée of filet de boeuf, and finish with Lemon Ice Box Pie, Andy Warhol’s favorite dessert. Jill Rizzo, of Studio Choo East, will design the event’s artful floral decorations. During dinner, guests will enjoy Rotari sparkling wines generously donated by Mezzacorona Group.

The evening’s three live auction items feature one-of-a-kind travel experiences, including an Art Experience Package at The Porches Inn at MASS MoCA donated generously by Main Street Hospitality Group with a private tour of the Museum by its Executive Director; a special tour of David Webb New York’s jewelry workshop in New York City donated generously by David Webb New York, as well as hotel accommodations, car service, and lunch or dinner at one of the City’s top restaurants; and a 7-night stay for up to four people in a private two-bedroom villa on St. Barths, donated generously by West Indies Management Company (WIMCO).

Auctioneer, Sarah Krueger, Head of Department, Photographs at Phillips in New York, will be in charge of the live auction followed by a paddle raise, which will support the Art Museum’s dynamic exhibition program.

Chicago’s DJ Megan Taylor will spin tunes from the disco era to the Velvet Underground and beyond, inspiring a dance floor of superstars! All guests are encouraged to commemorate the evening with a personal portrait taken in “Chloe,” the restored 1967 VW bus that has been converted into a rolling photo booth.

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The Museum is grateful to its generous Artists’ Ball supporters: David Webb New York and Newport Lamp & Shade Company. “Andy Warhol: Big Shot” is made possible by the generosity of Diane B. Wilsey, Grenville and Sandra Craig, John Peixinho, Ralph and Ala Isham, Bank of America Private Bank, Newport Lamp & Shade Company, and Phillips.

About the Exhibitions

“Andy Warhol: Big Shot,” curated by the Newport Art Museum’s Senior Curator, Dr. Francine Weiss, will be open for public viewing from July 18 through October 18, 2020. This significant exhibition, which will be installed in the Newport Art Museum’s Cushing Building and includes loans of Polaroids, paintings, silkscreens, and ephemera from a variety of private donors, foundations, galleries, universities, and museums from across the country. The show will also feature wallpaper by the award-winning, Brooklyn-based brand, Flavor Paper, from their Andy Warhol collection, which was created in collaboration with The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Warhol is well known for his appropriation of other people’s photographs, from the portraits to the press photographs that he reproduced and repeated in silkscreens and paintings, but he was also an avid photographer himself. This exhibition focuses on Andy Warhol’s photographic work, specifically his Polaroids. Using a Polaroid Big Shot and SX-70 cameras, Warhol made thousands of instant photographs. He used them in many ways: to document his art and aid in his drawing and design for ads, to take snapshots of friends and celebrities, to make self-portraits, and to create portraits and still lifes that would become studies for screen prints and paintings.

While some of Warhol’s Polaroids were studies for finished prints and paintings, others were an end unto themselves. This exhibition brings together a selection of Warhol’s Polaroids along with some of the final works of art that they generated. The exhibition will also include other unique photographs by Warhol, such as his rare stitched photographs and photobooth portraits. In many ways, Warhol anticipated Instagram, other social media platforms, and the “selfie.” This show engages with the contemporary issues of celebrity, social media, and artistic production.

“Andy Warhol: Big Shot” is the artist’s third exhibition at the Newport Art Museum. In 1977, Warhol attended the Newport Art Museum’s opening reception of a group show, in which he was included, honoring gallerist Leo Castelli. And in 1985, Warhol assembled 100 of his small, silk-screened images of colorful children’s toys for “Andy Warhol’s Children’s Show,” which was on display in the Cushing Gallery and organized by guest curator, Diego Cortez. Warhol designed wallpaper of large silver and black fish specifically for this show and was very involved in the installation, which showed his artworks at children’s eye levels.

Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was one of the most prolific and popular artists of his time. He was a successful commercial illustrator who became a leading artist of the 1960s Pop art movement. Warhol ventured into a wide variety of art forms, including performance art, filmmaking, video installations and writing, and controversially blurred the lines between fine art and pop culture. Andy Warhol’s art works are included in public and private collections around the world and he and his art have been the subject of numerous books, scholarly publications, and exhibitions.

“Private Moments: Photographs of Another Era by Bob Colacello,” will be on view in the Newport Art Museum’s Wright Gallery from June 20 through September 13, 2020.

Bob Colacello is a writer, photographer, and longtime friend and biographer of the artist Andy Warhol. He often accompanied Warhol to celebrity-studded parties, clubs, and private events and recorded the behind-the-scenes happenings with a tiny Minox 35 EL camera. This exhibition of a selection of Colacello’s black and white photographs serves as a very candid document of an era by someone with an educated eye and a dry wit.

Bob Colacello graduated from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in 1969 and Columbia University Graduate School of the Arts in 1971 with an MFA in Film. By then he had been hired to run Andy Warhol’s new magazine, Interview, a job he held for thirteen years, becoming one of the artist’s closest creative collaborators. His memoir of that period, Holy Terror: Andy Warhol Up Close, was acclaimed by The New York Times, as “the best-written and the most killingly observed” book on the so-called Pope of Pop.

In 2017, Colacello curated his first exhibition at Vito Schnabel Gallery in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The show, The Age of Ambiguity: Abstract Figuration / Figurative Abstraction, featured works by artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Rashid Johnson, Sterling Ruby, Julian Schnabel, Andy Warhol, and others.

A selection of Colacello’s photographs from the late 1970s and early 1980s was published by 7L Steidl in 2007, under the title OUT. In May 2020, Ivory Press will present a solo exhibition of Colacello’s photographs in Madrid. A book will be published to accompany the show. Solo exhibitions of Colacello’s photographs have been presented at Vito Schnabel Projects, New York; Mary Boone Gallery, New York; Govinda Gallery, Washington D.C.; Steven Kasher Gallery, New York; and the Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida. Colacello’s photographs have been included in group exhibitions at the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA; MoMA PS1, Long Island City, NY; Tate Modern, London; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Hamburger Kunsthalle, Germany; and Museu Serralves, Portugal. Bob Colacello is represented by Vito Schnabel Projects, New York City.