Andy Warhol was said to have accrued over 100 wigs over the course of his life, 40 of which are now in possession of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. It was here that Tate curator Gregor Muir first saw the wigs and decided it was vital to include them, telling The Guardian, “it was a little eerie, it has to be said but at the same time – it is him”.
Warhol first began wearing wigs in the 1950s, initially to disguise his thinning hair. However what originally served as a method of concealment soon became a defining feature of the artist’s public persona, as Warhol deliberately began highlighting the artifice of his wigs, wearing them in such a way to reveal glimpses of his real hair underneath. Over the years, Warhol’s headpieces became increasingly dramatic, morphing from dark-rooted blonde to platinum and finally, a silvery white. Created by New York wig maker Paul Bochicchio, Warhol would use heavy amounts of product and glue to attach the pieces to his head. Nonetheless, this didn’t stop a woman snatching a wig from his head at a New York book signing in 1985, an event said to have caused the artist considerable trauma.