The 50th anniversary of Andy Warhol’s groundbreaking film Empire will be marked by a month-long special exhibition at the very building that is the namesake and sole image of the epic work.

about the film

The Empire State Building is a star!

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

exhibition and light-up night

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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