Warhol's Screen Tests show the artist's gaze at its blankest. Auditioning factory stars and starlets, in front of a locked or unlocked frame, these harshly lit studies function as portraits of the sitters.
Recently, the yearly reading of "Howl" at Columbia University attracted crowds to the Philosophy Hall. An irony was not missed: in his days, Allen represented rebellious youth. Now, he is the poet of our time.
In his opening remarks to "Andy Warhol: Motion Pictures," MoMA's Chief Curator at Large Klaus Biesenbach told us to think of Warhol's screen tests -- 12 of which are presented in large-scale on the wall of one gallery -- as portraits.
"The bidders egos are the main reason for the inflated prices," Luis Accorsi told us. "The eagerness to win, one person over the other." Nevertheless, it's hard not to be taken in by the energy in the room.
The encounter between artist and audience is far more ambiguous and problematic in the art world than in the entertainment industry in spite of about a half century of critical and art world exertions to that distinction.