One doesn’t usually associate pop-art icon Andy Warhol with computers, yet a discovery of floppy discs containing Warhol’s first experiments with digital art may change that. In 1985, Warhol was commissioned by Commodore International to show off the graphic arts capability of their new Amiga computer. Warhol saved a number of works to floppy disks, including experiments with his classic Campbell’s soup can and Marilyn Monroe images, as well as assorted portraits and “doodles.” Only one of these images, a portrait of Debbie Harry, has ever been seen by the public.
The existence of these images were forgotten about until artist Cory Arcangel saw a 1985 Amiga video featuring Warhol painting a digital portrait of Harry. Arcangel was eventually able to make contact with Matt Wrbican of the Warhol Museum, who located the Amiga disks in the museum’s archives. Computer-based art was a new frontier in 1985, and Wrbican pictured the artist in his late fifties “grappling with the bizarre new sensation of a mouse in his palm,” and resisting “the urge to touch the screen.”