new-york

Andy Warhol

Robert Miller Gallery

Several noteworthy facts concerning the photobooth located in Playland, an arcade, positioned in the heart of Manhattan’s Times Square, itself an arcade: it costs $1.50 (quarters only) for a strip of four images; individual shots are taken at four-second intervals, during which time the sitter poses a self or what that person or someone else might believe is one. There is no contrast control. The phrase “Smile and Relax” is permanently stenciled under the camera proper. The language dictates a personage; the sitter becomes one who “smiles” and “relaxes” before a photographer who does not exist.

Andy Warhol’s photobooth portraits have almost nothing to do with the various subjects being depicted. What these photographs do suggest is what gesticulating—smiling and relaxing—into the void looks like. The sitters’ desire to fill the void with personality, imagination, activity, has everything

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