Lost Andy Warhol artworks recovered after spending 30 years on floppy disks

Images including doodles and photo-manipulations were made as part of a demonstration of the graphical ability of the Amiga 1000 computer in 1985

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 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 Blonde’s Debbie Harry and three-eyed re-imagining of Boticcelli’s The Birth of Venus.

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

After Archangel saw the video in 2011 he contacted Tina Kukielski, a curator at the Carnegie Museum of Art and the pair got asked the chief archivist of the Warhol Museum, Matt Wrbican, if they could search for the artworks amongst his files.

The trio discovered that the images had entered the museum’s archives in 1994 but had been inaccessible due to their obsolete format. In order to overcome this they got in contact with the Carnegie Mellon University Computer Club, a student organization known for its “comprehensive collection of obsolete computer hardware”.

A manipulation of a pre-rendered Botticelli. Credit: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visuals Arts, Inc.  The Computer Club managed to reverse-engineer the ancient Amiga format and eventually retrieved 18 images of which 12 were signed by Warhol himself. Although there have been no official titles released for the artworks the filenames might offer the nearest equivalent, including the likes of “campbells”, “banana2”, “marilyn1” and “money”.

Wrbican hailed the find as a great addition to the archives of Warhol’s work, describing the images as showing “a mature artist who had spent about 50 years developing a specific hand-to-eye coordination now suddenly grappling with the bizarre new sensation of a mouse in his palm".

“No doubt he resisted the urge to physically touch the screen – it had to be enormously frustrating, but it also marked a huge transformation in our culture: the dawn of the era of affordable home computing. We can only wonder how he would explore and exploit the technologies that are so ubiquitous today."

The Amiga 1000 computer used to create the artworks. Credit: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visuals Arts, Inc.

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.  Shortly afterwards it will be hosted online at http://www.nowseethis.org/.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Graduate BI Consultant (Business Intelligence) - London

    £24000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate BI Consultant (B...

    Service Delivery Manager (Product Manager, Test and Deployment)

    £40000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Service Delivery Manager (Product Ma...

    Technical Product Marketing Specialist - London - £70,000

    £50000 - £70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Cloud Product and Solutions Marketin...

    Trainee Helpdesk Analyst / 1st Line Application Support Analyst

    £18000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam