Artists Past & Present:
Andy Warhol: Time CapsulesFeatured in: Artists Who Collect
The Time Capsules are Warhol’s largest collecting project, in which he saved source material for his work and an enormous record of his own daily life. Warhol began creating his Time Capsules in 1974 after relocating his studio. He recognized that cardboard boxes used in the move were an efficient method for dealing with all of his “stuff.” Warhol selected items from the daily flood of correspondence, magazines, newspapers, gifts, photographs, business records, and material that passed through his hands to put in the open box by his desk. Once the box was full he sealed it with tape, marked it with a date or title, and put it in his archive. Collectively, this material provides a unique view into Warhol’s private world, as well as a broad cultural backdrop illustrating the social and artistic scene during his lifetime. From the early ’70s until his death in 1987, Warhol created 612 finished Time Capsules.
During this time period he was not only incredibly busy making art, but he was also collecting everything from cookie jars to contemporary art. An obsessive collector, Warhol constantly scoured auction houses, antique stores, and particularly flea markets for new treasures to add to his many collections. Warhol collected Fiestaware, World's Fair memorabilia, Art Deco silver, Native American objects, and folk art. He often acquired large collections as well—Hollywood publicity stills, crime scene photographs, and dental molds. All of these activities reflected his interest in Pop Art and his inspiration: consumer culture.