Skip to content
CityLab
Design

Andy Warhol's Film 'Empire' Turns 50

Celebrating one of the world's most famous skyscrapers on the day an equally famous artist filmed it. For a long, long time.
relates to Andy Warhol's Film 'Empire' Turns 50
Andy Warhol, Empire, 1964/The Andy Warhol Museum

Despite his lifelong love of celebrity culture, Andy Warhol's first forays into film were definitely not meant for Hollywood: 45 minutes of a man eating a mushroom, six hours of a man sleeping, and for those less interested in people, eight hours of silent staring at the Empire State Building.

On the night of July 25, 1964, Warhol and a small group of artists headed up to a 41st floor office inside the Time-Life Building in Manhattan with a perfect view of what was then the world's tallest building. Sixteen blocks away from the Empire State Building, Warhol and his group used a 16-millimeter camera and 10 33-minute reels to make their avant garde film. Shooting began at 8 p.m. and finished at 2:30 the next morning.