Paige Powell, who became the associate publisher of Andy Warhol’s Interview, arrived in New York City from Oregon in 1980. With camcorder and camera in hand, Powell joined the inner circle of art-scene luminaries and photographed them over the next decade. Jean-Michel Basquiat, her partner from ’82 to ’84 (captured in a series of reclining nudes by Powell), Francesco and Alba Clemente, Tama Janowitz, Stephen Sprouse, Madonna, and Keith Haring were just a few of her subjects. The images and video footage remained stashed in boxes under Powell’s bed for almost 40 years, but they’ve been unearthed for a new exhibition at the Portland Art Museum. Paige Powell: The Ride, on display through February 21, 2016, took two years to prepare, but is well worth the wait.
The Ride, the first part of the multimedia installation, includes a three-channel video with never-before-seen recordings of Powell’s VIP friends, including new footage of Warhol and Haring, candid photos of Basquiat, and more. Artist and celebrity photographer/director David LaChapelle mixed a soundtrack for the second part of the installation called Beulah Land, an interactive exhibit featuring over 800 images recreating a 1984 exhibition of Powell’s photographs (visitors can scrawl messages to the art icons on the walls).
The Museum is hosting several programs and events in conjunction with The Ride, including a conversation between Powell and co-curator Brian Ferriso on November 19. See a preview of the exhibit in our gallery.