Warhol’s Empire Turns 50 with Empire State Building Screening

A still from Andy Warhol's Empire.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Andy Warhol’s iconic and endurance-testing film Empire, the Empire State Building will feature a month-long showing of the film. Throughout July, the film will be screened in the Fifth Avenue lobby beginning at 8 p.m and continuing until 2:30 a.m. An accompanying exhibition will feature images of Warhol’s art and details about his life.

Finally, on Friday July 25, the building will be illuminated with thousands of sparkling white lights in honor of the official anniversary of the day Warhol locked his camera on the celebrated structure for six and a half hours, making the skyscraper a superstar on par with the Pop artist’s Factory darlings.

If the unfathomably famous New York artist and the unfathomably famous New York building sound like a match made in heaven to you, it’s because they are. Geralyn Huxley, curator of film and video at the Andy Warhol Museum and project leader for the Empire State Building exhibition said in a statement: “Andy Warhol is arguably the most famous American artist of the 20th century and Empire was his most famous film, it is fitting that he and his work be honored by the most famous of American buildings.”

The film shirks typical Hollywood conventions by presenting a single shot for an extended period of time, which is both its legacy and its downfall. While the work is undeniably groundbreaking, we would be shocked if there were throngs of people camped out in the Empire State Building lobby to watch it from start to finish.

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