Andy Warhol’s “Silver Clouds” reached their height, if you will, in 1966. That year, the bohemian filmmaker Willard Maas made a short film (Silver Flotations) starring Warhol’s silver balloons. That same year, Warhol debuted the works at New York’s Leo Castelli Gallery, but it was Maas’ creepy soundtrack and erratic cinematography that emphasized the ethereal nature of the project. In the film, the pillow-shaped balloons float in space like deep-ocean medusas. Maas was connected to the larger Factory scene—it has been said that he was DeVeren Bookwalter’s off-screen partner in Warhol’s 1964 film Blow Job—but “Silver Clouds” was a technical achievement for which the visionary Bell Laboratories engineer Billy Kluver deserves nearly as much credit as Warhol. “Silver Clouds” is bound to be a crowd-pleaser on view at Artisphere, where 150 of the Scotchpak-made metalized plastic film balloons will float on for about five weeks. But make no mistake: Despite their family-friendly appeal, Warhol’s balloons are adult material.
The exhibit is on view Wednesdays to Fridays 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturdays noon to 11 p.m., and Sundays noon to 5 p.m. to Oct. 20 at Artisphere, 1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. Free. (703) 875-1100. artisphere.com.