Andy Warhol works discovered: Unknown doodles and photo manipulations from the 1980s found on old floppy discs

The artworks were created to show off the graphical capabilities of Commodore's Amiga 1000 computer

A dozen previously unknown digital artworks created by Andy Warhol have been discovered on a set of 30-year-old floppy disks.

The doodles and photo manipulations were created by Warhol in 1985 as part of a commercial stunt by Commodore to promote the graphical prowess of the company’s new Amiga 1000 computer.

As well as reworking some of Warhol’s most-famous themes, including images of a Campbell’s soup can and Marilyn Monroe, the artworks include a manipulated photo-portrait of Blondie’s Debbie Harry and three-eyed reimagining of Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus.

The rescue of the artworks came about after the chance viewing of a YouTube clip by new-media artist Cory Arcangel. The clip was recorded as part of the launch event for the Amiga 1000 and shows Warhol making the portrait of Harry.

After Arcangel saw the video in 2011 he contacted Tina Kukielski, a curator at the Carnegie Museum of Art. They then approached the chief archivist of the Warhol Museum, Matt Wrbican, for permission to search for the artworks among his files.

‘Venus’ made by Andy Warholi n 1985 using an Amiga 1000 computer ‘Venus’ made by Andy Warholi n 1985 using an Amiga 1000 computer (The Andy Warhol Museum)
The three men discovered that the images had entered the museum’s archives in 1994 but had been inaccessible due to their obsolete format.

To overcome this they got in contact with the Carnegie Mellon University Computer Club, a student organisation known for its comprehensive collection of obsolete computer hardware. The Computer Club managed to reverse-engineer the ancient Amiga format and retrieved 18 images.

Although there have been no official titles released for the artworks, the filenames – including “campbells”, “banana2”, “marilyn1” and “money” – appear to offer  near equivalents. Wrbican hailed the find as a great addition to the archives of Warhol’s work, saying the images showed “a mature artist who had spent about  50 years developing a specific hand-to-eye co-ordination now suddenly grappling with the bizarre new sensation of a mouse in his palm”.

‘Campbell’s’ made by Andy Warhol in 1985 using an Amiga 1000 computer ‘Campbell’s’ made by Andy Warhol in 1985 using an Amiga 1000 computer (The Andy Warhol Museum)
He added: “We can only wonder how he would explore and exploit the technologies that are so ubiquitous today.”

The discovery and recovery of the images has been filmed for a documentary entitled The Invisible Photograph which will be aired on 10 May at the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh.

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