Polaroids of the famous

May 17, 2010

I've met the actor Matt Dillon before.  Okay, met is a stretch.  I said hello and he said hi back.  Maybe it was just a nod back.  My high school friend was infatuated with Dillon, and we found out one day he was shooting Drugstore Cowboy near the school.  We waited for two hours just to see a glimpse of him.

Drugstore Cowboy was directed by the acclaimed Gus Van Sant (My Private Idaho, Goodwill Hunting, Milk), who calls Portland home.   I actually haven't seen the movie yet.  I am, however, planning to see Polaroid portraits of the cast. Yesterday was the opening of "One Step Big Shot: Portraits by Andy Warhol and Gus Van Sant" at the University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.  The exhibition explores the parallels between Warhol and Van Sant, featuring 300 original Polaroids of actors and other notable individuals taken by both artists.

The show's title comes from the Polaroid Big Shot camera, a favorite of Warhol's.  He liked how the flash flattened his subjects. Van Sant used 665 film, so that he would have negatives of the images as well as the positives.  He used the Polaroids to help him cast his films, like Drugstore Cowboy.  All of Van Sant's Polaroids on display are on loan from the artist. 

"One Step Big Shot" also features several short films by both Van Sant and Warhol.  And if that doesn't get you headed in the direction of the show, I hear that there's a Polaroid of River Phoenix in the exhibition.  Where are my car keys?
[Images: Drew Barrymore, Gus Van Sant; Jack Nichlaus, Andy Warhol; Debbie Harry, Andy Warhol, Debra Messing, Keanu Reeves, Gus Van Sant.  Sources: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Eugene Weekly]


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