Object of the Month

ghghgTitle: Unidentified Man on Bike
Artist: Andy Warhol (1928–87)
Nationality: American
Date: ca. 1980
Medium: gelatin silver print
Credit: Gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, 2008.1.128. © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

Unidentified Man on a Bike was donated to the Block Museum as part of the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program, which was developed by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Warhol left behind an archive of more than 60,000 silver gelatin prints and Polaroids. The Legacy Program has given more than 28,500 of these photographs to nearly 200 educational institutions across the country. The goal of the program has been to expand access to Warhol’s work and distribute it to a wide and diverse range of institutions and artistic communities.

Although Warhol is best known for his Pop Art screenprints, he was also a prolific photographer. Warhol often used his Polaroid photographs as the basis for commissioned portraits, screenprints, and drawings. Unidentified Man on a Bike, however, is a different kind of Warhol photograph. Warhol, especially during his later years, carried a 35mm camera everywhere. His photography exhibits a stunning range of work and commitment to the form, and images he produced reveal both clear and nuanced depictions of life in New York City. Over the course of his time in New York, Warhol photographed strangers, friends, celebrities, animals, landscapes, and still lifes. Unidentified Man on a Bike is a scene from Warhol’s everyday experience and lends new perspective and context to his body of work.

—Sarah Montell Hansen (Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, 2014)

This work is on display in the Block Museum's Main Gallery during the exhibition Art on Paper: Prints, Drawings, and Photographs from the Block Museum, on view through August 26.

You can make an appointment to view other works from the Block Museum's permanent collection in the Eloise W. Martin Study Center. Email printroom@northwestern.edu or see Visit the Study Center for more information.