Empire is a classic example of Warhol’s early work in film, which began in 1963. He ignored Hollywood conventions by making a film that contained a single image for an extended period of time. Warhol said, “I never liked the idea of picking out certain scenes and pieces of time and putting them together, because… it’s not like life… What I liked was chunks of time all together, every real moment.”
From the dusk of 8 p.m. into the darkness of 2:30 a.m., Warhol captured the changing lights of the towering structure and the sky above. When Warhol premiered the film, unedited, the following March, he projected it in slow motion, bringing its length to over eight hours.
William John Kennedy, Untitled (Andy Warhol Editing Film), 1964
The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Gift of Kiwi Arts Group
© 2010 William John Kennedy. Image courtesy Kiwi Arts Group
Throughout July, Empire will be continuously shown in the lobby of New York City’s Empire State Building. The exhibition also features images of Warhol’s art and details of his life and filmmaking.
Image: Andy Warhol, Empire, 1964, ©The Andy Warhol Museum
On the evening of Friday, July 25, the Empire State Building will be illuminated with thousands of white lights sparkling in honor of the film’s anniversary. It was on that date in 1964 when Warhol trained his camera on the Empire State Building for six and a half hours, declaring, “The Empire State Building is a star!”
Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait with Movie Camera, ca. 1971
The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.
© The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.
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