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A gift of Warhol

Queens College's Godwin-Ternbach Museum has received 150 original Polaroid snapshots and gelatin silver prints from acclaimed pop artist Andy Warhol, a gift from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

The donation, which includes photos of celebrities and socialites such as Diane von Furstenberg, Wayne Gretzky, Lana Turner and Georgia O'Keefe, comes at the 20th anniversary of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

The Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program has donated more than 28,000 original Warhol pieces, valued in excess of $28 million, to college and university art museums across the United States. The Godwin-Ternbach Museum is one of 183 institutions to receive works from the famed artist.

The donation of both Warhol's Polaroid photographs and his gelatin silver prints provides a stunning example of the man's photographic method.

"Often he would shoot a person or event with both cameras, cropping one in Polaroid color as a 'photograph' and snapping the other in black and white as a 'picture,' " said Jenny Moore, curator of the Photographic Legacy Program, who selected the works for donation. "By presenting both kinds of images side by side, the Photographic Legacy Program allows viewers to move back and forth between moments of Warhol's art, work and life in inseparable parts of a fascinating whole."

Amy Winter, the Godwin-Ternbach Museum director, believes that the museum's 2006 exhibition "Popstars," which featured the work of major American and British pop artists, was a catalyst for this donation. The show highlighted the works of Warhol with a film series and lecture by Winter dubbed "Andy Warhol: Life, Death and Disaster."

The newly donated works are currently being catalogued and framed and will be on exhibition in the near future. There is a possibility they will be included in an exhibit with artists from the 2006 exhibition, said Joanne Rhodes, a Queens College spokeswoman.

Warhol, born Aug. 6, 1928, in Pittsburgh, was a central figure in the American pop art movement that took hold in the 1960s. Some of his better-known works include his Campbell's Soup paintings, of which Godwin-Ternbach owns a set of prints; the film "Chelsea Girls"; and numerous silkscreens of famous figures, most notably Marilyn Monroe.

Inherent in his artistic philosophy was the desire to become "a machine" of art. It is with this idea that he created what was known as "The Factory," where works were mass-produced by a dedicated team of artists.

The Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Queens College has the only comprehensive collection of art and artifacts in Queens, housing over 3,500 objects that date from ancient to modern times. All exhibitions are free, as are their related lectures, symposia, gallery talks, workshops, films, concerts and tours.

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