Commodore went bankrupt in 1994, and Warhol’s digital images were frozen on obsolete hard drives and disks in the archives of the museum for nearly 20 years. In 2014, contemporary artist Cory Arcangel organized a collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University, Carnegie Museum of Art, and The Warhol to recover the lost drawings. The team spent months extracting the data and reverse engineering the original software to be able to view the files.
Current Project Warhol and the Amiga
Unearthing Warhol’s Digital Art
In the early 1980s, home computers were a competitive market and technology companies were vying for marketing and branding opportunities. Commodore and Apple were two companies that lead the race. Although Warhol signed with Commodore first, he met Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, Inc., a year earlier at a birthday party for Sean Lennon, the son of musician John Lennon and artist Yoko Ono.
Warhol recorded his first encounter with Jobs in his Diaries. On Tuesday, October 9, 1984, Warhol writes:
. . .there was a kid there setting up the Apple computer that Sean had gotten as a present, the Macintosh model. I said that once some man had been calling me a lot wanting to give me one, but that I’d never called him back or something, and then the kid looked up and said, ‘Yeah, that was me. I’m Steve Jobs.’ And then he gave me a lesson on drawing with it…I felt so old and out of it with this young whiz guy right there who’d helped invent it.
Although Warhol never produced drawings on the Apple computer, he used Apple’s logo in a portfolio of prints in 1985. The series, called Ads, also included trademarks for Chanel, Paramount, and Mobil.
If I had a good computer I could catch up with my thoughts over the weekend if I ever got behind myself. A computer would be a very qualified boss.