To celebrate Andy Warhol’s 85th birthday, the Andy Warhol Museum and the technology company EarthCam have teamed up to stream a live video feed of the artist’s grave. In a digital homage to Warhol’s long duration films like Sleep (1963) and Empire (1964), starting today, a static shot of the artist’s final resting place will be viewable 24 hours a day on the museum’s website.
The project’s title, “Figment,” was inspired by Warhol’s widely quoted statement about his memorial, “I always thought I’d like my own tombstone to be blank. No epitaph and no name. Well, actually, I’d like it to say ‘figment.'” (In fact, the tombstone is marked “Warhola,” the artist’s family name.)
Since his death in 1987, Warhol’s burial plot has become a makeshift shrine adorned with mementos such as Campbell’s soup cans and Coca-Cola bottles left by fans and devotees. The site has also been featured in several art works, including Madelyn Roehrig’s ongoing project Figments: Conversations with Andy(2009-), for which the artist records and photographs visitors’ interactions with the grave.
EarthCam’s participation in the project stems from conversations CEO Brian Cury had with Warhol in the 1980s about fame and television. Noting Warhol’s early use of video and other new mediums, Warhol Museum director Eric Shiner has said, “We believe that [“Figment”] will give Warhol the pleasure of knowing that he is still plugged in and turned on over 25 years after his death.”