101 things to do this summer

13 Most Beautiful… Songs For Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests

+ Shearwater

30 July 2010 / 20:00

£15 / 20

 Sold out

This unique evening features screenings of 13 of Andy Warhol’s legendary “screen tests”, each one accompanied by live music from Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips, formerly of the NYC downtown band Luna.

13 Most Beautiful… Songs For Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests

13 Most Beautiful Songs for Andy Warhol's Screen Test - 1 Crying Girl

Dean and Britta - You Turn My Head Around

A unique celebration of Andy Warhol’s most intimate works, as Dean & Britta ’s languid ruminations accompany Warhol’s legendary film portraits to make an unforgettable night of art, film and music in the Barbican Theatre.

Andy Warhol conceived his “screen tests” as film versions of portrait painting, an attempt to capture the essence of personality. “I only wanted to find great people and let them be themselves”, he explained. Warhol shot 472 such films between 1964 and 1966 with his 16mm Bolex camera, using silent, black-and-white, 100-foot rolls of film. Projected in slow motion, each portrait lasts for a lingering, unwavering four minutes. Amongst the subjects so immortalised are Lou Reed , Nico , Edie Sedgwick and Dennis Hopper, alongside many of the Warhol Factory “superstars”.

Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips (formerly of the acclaimed NYC downtown band Luna ) were commissioned by the The Andy Warhol Museum and The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust to write a musical accompaniment to thirteen of Warhol’s unflinching portraits, and they responded with a judicious selection of new songs and inspired cover versions. It’s a great pairing - Dean and Britta’s music, which draws on the spare shuffle and laconic melancholy of late period Velvet Underground, is as quintessentially New York a phenomenon as the Factory itself, while Wareham’s wry and acutely observational lyrics are the perfect foil to Warhol’s unflinching camerawork.

'In a word, mesmerising.' The New York Times

Shearwater are opening the night.

Buoyed by Jonathan Meiburg’s tremulous vocals and constantly in thrall to the natural world, Shearwater’s music is a rich, suggestive thing. With their current album, The Golden Archipelago, possibly the band’s most absorbing and accomplished work to date, Shearwater continue to explore the beauty, menace, and fragility of the natural world – and that increasingly rare species, the indivisible album.

The Golden Archipelago is the third part of a triptych that begun with 2006’s enigmatic Palo Santo – and some of this record's more disorienting soundscapes could inhabit the same strange continent as the John Cale-produced classic Desertshore by Nico, whose life inspired each song.

This event is part of:

Produced by the Barbican


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