How We See Celebrities: Early Hollywood Publicity Stills vs. Andy Warhol Portraits

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Famous faces from years past abound this month at Washington, DC’s Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design. Their new exhibit, Shooting Stars: Publicity Stills from Early Hollywood and Portraits by Andy Warhol, juxtaposes the mostly anonymous publicity stills of early Hollywood stars, shot by studio cameramen, with Warhol’s iconic portraiture, which drew upon this tradition to create his portraits of both celebrities and civilians. As the Corcoran explains, “Made half a century apart, these two bodies of work illustrate some of the ways photographers have contributed to our understanding of celebrity and fame. The exhibition explores the transition from America’s early cinematic star system to the Warholian reinvention of fame, which allowed anyone to become — however briefly — a public personality.” After the jump, check out a few of the photographs from the exhibit — and if you’re in the area, be sure to stop by before the show closes on April 21st.

Photo Credit: Andy Warhol, Unidentified Woman (Young Blonde in Blue Polyester Blazer), August 1974. Dye diffusion transfer (Polaroid) print. Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., gift of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., 2008.012.154. © 2012 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Photo Credit: Andy Warhol, Unidentified Man (Young Blond Mole Over Lip), June 1986. Dye diffusion transfer (Polaroid) print. Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., gift of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., 2008.012.140. © 2012 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Photo Credit: Photographer unknown, Untitled (Tom Mix), c. 1927. Gelatin silver print. Image courtesy Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., gift of Robert Hunter, Esq., 1997.11.33.

Photo Credit: Andy Warhol, Edward Kennedy, 1979. Dye diffusion transfer (Polaroid) print. Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., gift of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., 2008.012.036. © 2012 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Photo Credit: Photographer unknown, Untitled (Lillian Roth), c. 1927. Gelatin silver print. Image courtesy Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., gift of Robert Hunter, Esq., 1997.11.12.

Photo Credit: Photographer unknown, Untitled (Irene Dunne), c. 1930–35. Gelatin silver print. Image courtesy Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., gift of Robert Hunter, Esq., 1997.11.29.

Photo Credit: Photographer unknown, Joe E. Brown and Laura Lee in Top Speed, 1930. Gelatin silver print. Image courtesy Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., gift of Robert Hunter, Esq., 1997.11.14.

Andy Warhol, Jackie Curtis, 1974. Dye diffusion transfer (Polaroid) print. Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Gift of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., 2008.012.054. © 2012 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Photo Credit: Andy Warhol, Unidentified Man (Thick Black Hair), October 1980. Dye diffusion transfer (Polaroid) print. Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., gift of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., 2008.012.137. © 2012 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Photo Credit: Photographer unknown, Untitled (Claudette Colbert), c. 1927. Gelatin silver print. Image courtesy Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., gift of Robert Hunter, Esq., 1997.11.6.