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Debbie Harry, Ramones, Nick Rhodes, Courtney Love and more on MTV’s ‘Andy Warhol’s 15 Minutes’


 
In December of 2010, I visited the Andy Warhol Enterprises exhibit then being held at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. It was an excellent full-career retrospective, loaded with rare goodies, and generously tilted toward his early, pre-Factory commercial work, which I prefer to his more famous silkscreens (commence calling for my skull on a pike, I don’t care). But as much as I was enjoying the early books and the blotted-ink drawings of shoes, I was surprised by a trip down amnesia lane that came at the end of the exhibit, a video installation of one of Warhol’s last projects, the show he produced and co-hosted (with Debbie Harry) for MTV called Andy Warhol’s 15 Minutes. The name of the show referred to Warhol’s famous quip “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” Episodes of the program were actually 30 minutes in length. #themoreyouknow
 

Warhol with Debbie Harry, dressed by Stephen Sprouse.
 
I was an arty kid, so I knew perfectly well who Warhol was (some of my friends only learned of his existence from that show, believe it or not), and so I never missed it. Though it wasn’t too hard to catch them all—as the series was prematurely ended by Warhol’s 1987 death, there were only five episodes, the last of which was mainly a memorial. But while it was on, it was glorious. Although the program featured lots of marquee names, befitting Warhol’s obsession with celebrity and celebrities, it also highlighted NYC downtown fashion, art, and music phenomena. Mind-expanding stuff for a midwestern kid, and stuff which would have otherwise been entirely inaccessible, since Warhol’s previous television ventures, Fashion and Andy Warhol’s TV, were limited to NYC cable.

And unless you visit the Warhol Museum or a traveling retrospective, the program itself is now pretty well inaccessible. Few things have been more damnably hard to find streaming than episodes of 15 Minutes, and to my complete bafflement, the Warhol Museum store doesn’t offer a home video. Much of what little can be found is fuzzy VHS home recordings, but it gives an adequate taste of how deep the show could go—and remember, this was on MTV.
 

 

 
It gets a good bit better with this clip of Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes taking the viewer on a tour of Manhattan nightclubs The Palladium and AREA (note future Twin Peaks actor Michael J. Anderson as the garden gnome.)
 

 
KONK were an amazing dance-punk band of the era. You may recognize the drummer, Richard Edson, an original member of Sonic Youth, and co-star of the Jim Jarmusch film Stranger Than Paradise.
 

 
This Ramones interview ends with a live, not lip-synced, performance of “Bonzo Goes To Bitburg.”

 
The last bit footage I’ve found is a jaw-dropper—an interview segment with a 21ish, pre-fame Courtney Love!
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Donning whiteface for Warhol: Dance tribute to ‘Drella’
06.17.2014
08:38 am

Topics:
Art
Dance

Tags:
Andy Warhol
Raja Feather Kelly

Raja Feather Kelly
 
Last December the choreographer and dancer Raja Feather Kelly premiered an audacious and touching new “vogue-ballet” that honored two artists important to his work: pop artist Andy Warhol and choreographer Faye Driscoll. The title incorporated both of them; it was called “Andy Warhol’s DRELLA (I Love You Faye Driscoll).” Here is the tongue-in-cheek description of the show, somewhat in the manner of one of those interminable titles (including liberal capitalization) of a ... seventeenth-century scientific tract:
 

Andy Warhol’s DRELLA (I Love You Faye Driscoll) Is A Movement-Based Drag Performance Essay Inspired By Andy Warhol’s Alter Ego “Drella”—A Contraction Of Dracula And Cinderella, Envisioned By Warhol Superstar Ondine. Beyond The Focus On Warhol’s Legacy, Raja Feather Kelly’s Interest Is In Addressing His Concerns With Identity, Sexuality And Self-Worth. In His Vogue-Ballet, Kelly Creates A Surreal World; A Gender-Bending, Race-Shifting, Multi-Medium “Artsploitation” In Response To Today’s Consumer Culture, And Celebrity Worship. It Is The Latest In The Choreographer’s Warhol-Driven Series Leading To A Final Staging Of The Feath3r Theory Presents: ‘WHO’S AFRAID OF ANDY WARHOL?’

 
Raja Feather Kelly’s dance troupe is called feath3r theory, after a novel he wrote in 2008 while in Sydney, Australia.
 
Drella
 
In the early 1980s, Warhol famously took up the Polaroid camera as his medium of choice, producing memorable images of Debbie Harry, Dennis Hopper, Mick Jagger, Muhammad Ali, Sylvester Stallone, etc. He also turned the Polaroid on himself—but with a difference. Many of Warhol’s Polaroid self-portraits presented himself in drag, as a character named “Drella”—the name is a portmanteau of “Dracula” and “Cinderella,” made most famous by Lou Reed and John Cale in their Songs for Drella.

Among the most obvious descriptors for “Drella” would be “pale”—given the white shirt, white makeup, and platinum blond wig, it was only the bright red lipstick and tartan necktie that saved Warhol/Drella from blending into the white background altogether. So in a brazen move of identification, the African-American Kelly took up the semiotically charged method of blackface—well, “whiteface” in this case—possibly to alienate audiences mildly but, far more important, to forge a deeper connection with the nakedly performative essence of Drella.
 
Warhol/Drella
“Self-Portrait in Drag” (1981)
 
Warhol/Drella
“Self-Portrait in Drag” (1981)
 
Raja Feather Kelly as DrellaRaja Feather Kelly as Drella
 
The word “vogue” is the giveaway here. Kelly’s intentions are so obviously benign, and the outcome so joyous, that nobody could object to it. Kelly’s term for it is “artsploitation.” As he says, “I don’t know art without Andy Warhol. ... I was born into the challenge of Andy Warhol.” If you think there might be a dodge going on here in the use of racially coded/offensive blackface, note that the slogan for the recent performances (June 5/6) at the Invisible Dog Art Center in Brooklyn was “Black by Popular Demand.”

If you’re in New York, keep an eye out for future performances of this exultant and challenging work; Kelly’s already brought it back once, he may do so again.
 
Andy Warhol’s DRELLA (I Love You Faye Driscoll)
 
Here’s a teaser for the performances at the Invisible Dog on June 5 and 6:


 
Here’s Raja Feather Kelly discussing the importance of Warhol on his artistic development:
 

 
via Hyperallergic

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Dali and Warhol’s Ultra Violet light goes out. R.I.P Superstar Ultra Violet
06.16.2014
01:08 pm

Topics:
Art
Movies
Music

Tags:
Andy Warhol
Salvador Dali
Ultra Violet


 
Born Isabelle Collin Dufresne on September 6th 1935, but later but rechristened by Andy Warhol, Ultra Violet passed away Saturday after a long battle with cancer. She was brought up in a strictly religious upper-middle-class family, but she rebelled at an early age, and was supposedly exorcised at the insistence of her parents. Isabelle studied art in France and then ran to New York to live with her older sister.

After meeting Salvador Dali in the early 1950s she became his assistant, pupil and muse. Ten years later Dali introduced Isabelle to Andy Warhol and things would never the same.
 

 
When she was asked once for a short autobiography, she wrote this:

1935 - I was born a mystical child.
1940 - I was raised in France at the Sacred Heart Catholic convent where I became rebellious.
1950 - I was exorcised at age 15.
1951 - I was sent to a correction home at the age of 16.
1968 - I burned my bra as a sign of rebellion.
1972 - I questioned the masculinity imbued in religion and scriptures.
1998 - I had absorbed and accepted the gender differences.
Present - I believe Jesus Christ to be the Messiah and the Savior of the world.

 

 
At Warhol’s suggestion she changed her name to Ultra Violet as her hair was violet colored much of the time. Ultra Violet was one of Andy’s early Superstars and appeared in several of his underground films including I, a Man, The Life of Juanita Castro and Fuck aka ****. She was also in quite a few really good, weird, but more “above ground” exploitation or B films including The Telephone Book, Midnight Cowboy, Simon, King of the Witches, The Phynx, Cleopatra, Savages and Curse of the Headless Horseman.
 
gvkyddgh
 
Amazingly, you can watch The Life of Juanita Castro in its entirety via YouTube:

 
Ultra Violet narrated a very controversial “lost” film called Hot Parts, a compilation of hardcore porn scenes from vintage smokers and loops dating as far back as the turn of the century. It even had a soundtrack album released available here. The film was allowed to play as the police rushed in and busted it at its initial showing at the First Annual New York Erotic Film Festival. Still being talked about three years after the incident, this is from an article in Man to Man magazine from 1974:
 
ftyjr
 
dgfhevgr
 
khvsgj
 
Not too long after this, Ultra Violet made an LP for Capital Records. It was not promoted and had little to no publicity. Every known copy has a cut out hole, meaning it went directly to sale record bins, and usually sold for 99 cents. Today it sells on eBay for up to $5,200! Some tracks are actually pretty good. Ultra Violet really sounds like her friend Yoko Ono on this track, “Cool Mac Daddy.” The entire album is available on iTunes.
 

 

 
In 1973, a near-death experience launched Ultra Violet on a spiritual quest, culminating in her baptism in 1981, bringing her full circle back to her upbringing. From 1981 until her death, she was a practicing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Oddly enough one year before this Ultra Violet did her own version of The Last Supper.

“The Last Supper,” a performance and film—a re-enactment of the Last Supper—was conceived for the Kitchen by Ultra Violet in 1972 and performed by New York-based female artists. Recently it was shown at a Miami Beach Cinematheque screening for Art Basel in 2007 and is included in the collection of Centre Pompidou, Paris.
 
TYYCTCH
 
Ultra Violet never showed her work until much later in life when she devoted herself to her art and mounted celebrated shows the world over. She was also the author of the books, Famous for 15 minutes, Ultra Violet: Andy Warhol, Superstar and Ultra Violet: L’Ultratique. Her first book, Famous for 15 Minutes was made into an opera called Famous! with music by David Conte and a libretto by John Stirling Walker. That is something I’d really like to see. There’s a website with some video here.
 
ghfvdhg
 
Here’s a pretty in depth interview with Ultra Violet:
 

Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
The Making of an Underground Film: Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol and a ‘topless’ Velvet Underground


 
There is simply too much pork for the fork in this wild CBS Evening News report on the then-new phenomenon of “underground films” from New Year’s Eve of 1965/66.

Seen here are Piero Heliczer filming the Velvet Underground, along with testimony from Jonas Mekas, Stan Brakhage, Andy Warhol, a gorgeous young Edie Sedgwick, Al Aronowitz (the rock journo who introduced The Beatles to Dylan—and pot), Willard Van Dyke of the Museum of Modern Art, Chuck Wein, even shirtless and bodypainted Lou Reed and John Cale. Angus MacLise, who was still in the group when this was shot makes an appearance as well.

I think it’s safe to say that this is probably the first and so far at least, only time an excerpt from a Stan Brakhage film was ever shown on The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite.
 

 
Thank you Michael Simmons!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Andy Warhol shoots The Velvet Underground live (and in color) Boston, 1967
05.28.2014
09:54 am

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
Andy Warhol
Velvet Underground


 
A 33-minute 16mm film shot by Andy Warhol of the Velvet Underground playing live at The Boston Tea Party nightclub in 1967 started making the rounds on the bootleg torrent tracker sites a few months ago, and now a pristine version has been uploaded to YouTube.

Although this is one of only two known films of the Velvet Underground with sync sound, before you go getting too excited, it’s pretty hard to watch (although still fascinating.) Sound cuts in and out, the camera work is herky jerky—a sure sign that it was indeed the somewhat technically inept Warhol who shot it—zooming in and out on the Velvets, the crowd, the film projections, strobe lights and mirrored disco balls.

Songs heard include bits of “I’m Waiting For The Man,” “Guess I’m Falling In Love,” “Run Run Run,” “Heroin,” “Walk It & Talk It,”  “I Heard Her Call My Name,” “Venus In Furs” and Sister Ray (the sole complete number).
 

 
Thank you Velvet Lover!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Andy Warhol, wrestling fan?


 

“I’m speechless. I just don’t know what to say.”

At some point during the 1980s, it made sense that MTV would try do something to take advantage of the pop culture juggernaut that was the World Wrestling Federation and some perceived rock/wrestling crossover that probably just boiled down to Cyndi Lauper’s dad being played by Captain Lou Albano in her “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” video and little else.

“The War to Settle the Score” was a series of WWF matches with a storyline that involved Albano, Lauper and her manager David Wolff (I won’t bother to explain it in detail, but Albano was a manager and Wolff and Lauper are trying to steal clients.) “Rowdy” Roddy Piper got pissed off about the whole MTV connection and this brought another “feud” into the storyline, but also in real life.

Piper was disqualified from the championship match against Hulk Hogan and a brawl erupted.  At one point, Cyndi Lauper, who had rushed the ring with Mr. T to support Hogan, was kicked in the head.

Since the event was live, MTV had cameras set up backstage to interview Hogan, Lauper, Mr T and Albano afterwards, but Andy Warhol apparently opened the wrong door and was pulled into an impromptu interview with “Mean Gene” Okerlund.

You’ll notice that Okerlund refers to the Pope of Pop as a “one of the greatest wrestling fans” at the end.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘New’ Warhol works discovered on old Amiga floppy disks
04.24.2014
07:00 am

Topics:
Art
Science/Tech

Tags:
Andy Warhol

Andy2
 
Last year we posted about Andy Warhol’s interest in the Amiga computing platform, including his participation in an Amiga product launch event in 1985, at which a pixelated image ostensibly created by Warhol of Debbie Harry was shown. At the event Warhol, in a desultory manner, executed the fill function a few times; it’s unclear to what extent that work qualifies as a Warhol original—and yet, lots of Warhol artworks were executed by underlings, so really what’s the diff? In that post we also presented a remarkable cover story/interview on Warhol that appeared in Amiga World magazine early the next year.

Yesterday the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University issued a press release with the title “Previously Unknown Warhol Works Discovered on Floppy Disks from 1985” and the subtitle “Collaborative Team Rescues Early Digital Art through ‘Forensic Retrocomputing.’” The substance of the press release is that “a multi-institutional team of new-media artists, computer experts, and museum professionals have discovered a dozen previously unknown experiments by Andy Warhol ... on aging floppy disks from 1985.” The discovery was in part a result of efforts by “post-conceptual” artist Cory Arcangel:
 

The impetus for the investigation came when Arcangel, a self-described “Warhol fanatic and lifelong computer nerd,” learned about Warhol’s Amiga experiments from the YouTube video of the 1985 Commodore Amiga product launch [the product launch referenced above]. Acting on a hunch, and with the support of CMOA curator Tina Kukielski, Arcangel approached the AWM in December 2011 regarding the possibility of restoring the Amiga hardware in the museum’s possession, and cataloging any files on its associated diskettes.

-snip-

It was not known in advance whether any of Warhol’s imagery existed on the floppy disks—nearly all of which were system and application diskettes onto which, the team later discovered, Warhol had saved his own data. Reviewing the disks’ directory listings, the team’s initial excitement on seeing promising filenames like “campbells.pic” and “marilyn1.pic” quickly turned to dismay, when it emerged that the files were stored in a completely unknown file format, unrecognized by any utility. Soon afterwards, however, the Club’s forensics experts had reverse-engineered the unfamiliar format, unveiling 28 never-before-seen digital images that were judged to be in Warhol’s style by the AWM’s experts. At least eleven of these images featured Warhol’s signature.

The images depict some of Warhol’s best-known subjects—Campbell’s® soup cans, Botticelli’s Venus, and self-portraiture, for example—articulated through uniquely digital processes such as pattern flood fills, palletized color, and copy-paste collage. “What’s amazing is that by looking at these images, we can see how quickly Warhol seemed to intuit the essence of what it meant to express oneself, in what then was a brand-new medium: the digital,” says Arcangel.

 
On Saturday, May 10, at Carnegie Library Lecture Hall in Pittsburgh, a short film called “Trapped: Andy Warhol’s Amiga Experiments” documenting the team’s efforts will be shown.

The press release did not divulge information as to when the other 9 or 25 (depending on what figure you go by) digital artworks will be made public. At the top of this page is one of the images released to the public, called Andy2; the other two, Campbell’s and Venus, are below, as well as a picture of Warhol’s Amiga setup.

I’m not an art historian or art critic, but I will say this. I like Campbell’s the best of the three. It engages the most signature work of Warhol’s career, and it’s nice to look at. To call Venus a fully fledged work of art may be a stretch….. it doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility that Venus was hardly much more than a trial effort to see if he could master the cut and paste function. I’m not saying it was that, I’m saying it could be that. Given the minimal manipulations involved and the cheeky (and let’s not forget, not terribly Warholian) subject matter, to argue for its status as a mature Warhol work might well be to indulge in some kind of aesthetic-categorization hair-splitting…. It’s not like art critics have ever, ever argued that a ridiculous or trifling work of art merited major world-historical status…... Maybe not, maybe I’m being narrow: I’ll leave it for others to decide.
 
Campbell's
 
Venus
 
Amiga equipment
 
Here’s a video of Warhol and Debbie Harry at that Amiga product launch in July 1985:
 

 
via Internet Magic

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The early jazz album covers of Andy Warhol
02.26.2014
08:30 am

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
Andy Warhol

Monk
Thelonious Monk, Monk, 1954
 
Before he became just about the most important person in the world in the 1960s, Andy Warhol made a living as a graphic designer. He did a whole slew of album covers and, as is well known, a good many book jackets as well. Often he enlisted his mom to write the scrawled text, as we saw in this delightful mock cookbook from 1959, her handwriting was his secret weapon until he made the silk screen his signature medium of choice.

For most of these albums, he was responsible for the drawing if not necessarily the layout. In the case of the Monk album above, we know it’s his mother’s handwriting and he may not have done the layout, so it’s unclear exactly how much credit he should get, but then again, that was more or less his method at The Factory!
 
Count Basie
Count Basie, s/t, 1955
 
Kenny Burrell
Kenny Burrell, Volume 2, 1956
 
Kenny Burrell
Kenny Burrell, Blue Lights, 1958
 
Artie Shaw
Artie Shaw and His Orchestra, Both Feet in the Groove, 1956
 
More work from Warhol’s “Blue Note period” after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Talking sex with Andy and Bill: William S. Burroughs and Andy Warhol discuss ‘the first time’
01.21.2014
05:53 am

Topics:
Art
Literature
Queer
Sex

Tags:
Andy Warhol
William S. Burroughs


 
Two cultural icons of the twentieth century, William S. Burroughs and Andy Warhol, enjoying dinner and amiably discussing the first time they had sex with another man—whatever could be more salubrious? Horses are part of the conversation, too. Read on in the excerpt from Victor Bockris’ classic book, With William Burroughs, A Report from the Bunker
 

Burroughs: Cocteau had this party trick that he would pull. He would lie down, take off his clothes, and come spontaneously. Could do that even in his fifties. He’d lie down there and his cock would start throbbing and he’d go off. It was some film trick that he had.

Bockris: How’d he pull that off? Have you ever been able to come through total mental—

Burroughs: Oh, I have indeed. I’ve done it many times. It’s just a matter of getting the sexual image so vivid that you come.

Warhol: How old were you when you first had sex?

Burroughs: Sixteen. Just boarding school at Los Alamos Ranch School where they later made the atom bomb.

Warhol: With who?

Burroughs: With this boy in the next bunk.

Warhol: What did he do?

Burroughs: Mutual masturbation. But during the war this school, which was up on the mesa there thirty-seven miles north of Santa Fe, was taken over by the army. That’s where they made the atom bomb. Oppenheimer [the scientist who invented the bomb] had gone out there for his health and he was staying at a dude ranch near this place and said, “Well, this is the ideal place.” It seems so right and appropriate somehow that I should have gone to school there. Los Alamos Ranch School was one of those boarding schools where everyone rode a horse. Fucking horses, I hate ‘em. I had sinus trouble and I’d been going to New Mexico for my health during the summer vacations and then my family contacted the director, A. J. Connell, who was a Unitarian and believed very much in positive thinking, and I went there for two years. This took place on a sleeping porch, 1929.

Warhol: How great! Was the sex really like an explosion?

Burroughs: No no … I don’t remember it was so long ago.

Warhol: I think I was twenty-five when I first had sex, but the first time I knew about sex was under the stairs in Northside, Pittsburgh, and they made this funny kid suck this boy off. I never understood what it meant…

Burroughs: Made him do what?

Warhol: Suck this boy off, but I didn’t know what it meant, I was just sitting there watching when I was five years old. How did you get this kid to do it, or did he do it to you?

Burroughs: Oh I don’t know, sort of a lot of talking back and forth…

Here’s a remarkable clip of the pair, this time chatting about, er, chicken fried steak—in the very room in which Arthur Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey! Phew, so much history! The footage is from an episode of the BBC documentary program Arena about the Hotel Chelsea and there are a couple of odd narrative elements to it, but the clip mercifully ends with Nico singing a haunting rendition of “Chelsea Girls”—in the Chelsea Hotel itself, one wonders if it was in Room 506…..
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Batman’ goes Warhol: Life imitates art, art imitates life or something like that


 
Everyone has seen the famous photos of Nico and Andy Warhol dressed as Batman and Robin, and Warhol’s silkscreen of the Batman logo, but evidently the writers for (arguably) the most “pop art” TV show in history were also very well aware of the Pope of Pop’s movements.

In an episode called “Pop Goes the Joker,” a rich society girl by the name of “Baby Jane Towser” is preyed upon by The Joker who has inadvertently become an acclaimed Warhol-esque pop artist after defacing some art ala Marcel Duchamp. “Baby Jane Towser” is duped to lure in millionaire patrons to buy the Jokers art.
 

 
Obvious to anyone at the time, the rich girl character was based on one-time fashion model, “It Girl,” Warhol superstar and wealthy young Park Avenue housewife, “Baby” Jane Holzer. Holzer was famously photographed by David Bailey, she made the cover of Vogue and appeared in a handful of Warhol’s early films, such as Couch, Soap Opera and a silent “screen test” where she coyly brushed her teeth for his camera.
 

 
Holzer was largely absent from The Factory scene after Edie Sedgewick’s arrival, when Warhol’s entourage became too druggy for her tastes, although she and the artist stayed close friends. The essay “Girl of the Year” from Tom Wolfe’s anthology The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby is about Jane Holzer:

“The show hasn’t even started yet, the Rolling Stones aren’t even on stage… Girls are reeling this way and that way in the aisle and through their huge black decal eyes… they keep staring at - her - Baby Jane - on the aisle… Baby Jane, is a fabulous girl. She comprehends what the Rolling Stones mean. Any columnist in New York could tell them who she is… a celebrity of New York’s new era of Wog Hip… Baby Jane Holzer, Jane Holzer in Vogue, Jane Holzer in Life, Jane Holzer in Andy Warhol’s underground movies, Jane Holzer at the rock and roll, Jane Holzer is - well, how can you put it into words? Jane Holzer is This Years Girl, at least, the New Celebrity, none of your old idea of sexpots, prima donnas, romantic tragediennes, she is the girl who knows… the Stones, East End vitality… ‘Andy calls everything super,’ says Jane. ‘I’m a super star, he’s a super-director, we make super epics - and I mean, it’s a completely new and natural way of acting.You can’t image what really beautiful things can happen!’”


Roxy Music later referenced Holzer in the the lyrics to “Virginia Plain” (“Baby Jane’s in Acapulco / We are flying down to Rio” and “Can’t you see that Holzer mane?”). She is today a real-estate developer in Manhattan and an avid and celebrated art collector.
 


 
Below, “Baby” Jane Holzer singing Frankie Valli’s “(You’re Gonna) Hurt Yourself,” March 28, 1966, on the Hullabaloo TV show. Apparently this record was never properly released. I suppose you could look at this the same way as Paris Hilton’s short-lived pop music career.
 

 
Part one of “Pop Goes the Joker” is below. The second half of this typical Batman cliff-hanger was “Flop Goes the Joker.”
 

 
One more Batman/Warhol/Holzer tie-in: In this excerpt from Batman/Dracula a long-thought lost collaboration between Andy Warhol and that icon of the perverse, Jack Smith, “Baby” Jane plays, one can assume, “Catwoman,” with Smith in the title role. This pre-dates the 1966 Batman TV series by two years.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Songs for Drella’: Lou Reed and John Cale pay tribute to Andy Warhol, live 1989
01.10.2014
12:18 pm

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
Andy Warhol
Lou Reed
John Cale


 
When Lou Reed and John Cale’s collaborative tribute to Andy Warhol, Songs for Drella, came out in 1990, I didn’t love it. I didn’t even like it. It felt really forced. Over time it came to grow on me, but seeing the suite performed onstage, in the form of Oscar-nominated cinematographer Ed Lachman’s video documentation of the piece, really brought it alive.

Songs for Drella was part of 1989’s “Next Wave” festival at BAM and if you’ve ever been lucky enough to see something staged there, well, the lighting design and the general production values are usually more on a level of a Broadway show than a typical rock concert. Songs for Drella is essentially a theater piece and the visuals provide much of the enjoyment as well as a vague narrative. The songs are roughly in chronological order as they tell the story of Warhol’s life, from Pittsburgh, his early days in NYC, getting shot and his worldwide fame. The narrator changes from first person (Warhol’s POV), third person descriptions and Reed and Cale’s own commentary, as both longtime friends and collaborators with the artist.

According to a photographer I knew who shot the two of them around this time, Reed and Cale seemed to absolutely loathe each other. He described them as the two biggest bastards he’s ever been hired to shoot, in fact. Hissing snakes. The pair apparently vowed never to work together again, but they did anyway, for the ill-fated Velvet Underground reunion of 1993.

Shot on December 4–5, 1989 without an audience at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Songs for Drella came out on VHS and Laserdisc, but as yet, has still not come out on DVD. The album itself was recorded in the weeks after this was taped.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Art & Commerce: Andy Warhol and Salvador Dalí‘s commercials for Braniff Airways, 1967
01.02.2014
06:53 am

Topics:
Advertising

Tags:
Andy Warhol
Salvador Dali
George Lois

Andy Warhol and Sonny Liston
 
In 1967 legendary adman and designer George Lois conceived a hip new ad campaign for Braniff International Airways, in a style that was remarkably similar to his undying Esquire covers from around the same time. (If you’re at all interested in design, you’ve definitely seen a bunch of those covers, just Google it.)

In two TV spots, Andy Warhol tries to convince a not-buying-it Sonny Liston, then the world heavyweight champ, as to the artistic validity of his Campbell’s soup cans, and Yankee hurler Whitey Ford quizzes Salvador Dalí about the differences between the screwball and the knuckleball.

Lois, in his egotistical and yet charmingly frank (“out-bullshit” etc.) style, explains on his website what he was getting at with the Braniff ads. He mentions a bunch of other pairings that were presumably filmed, but, well, they ain’t on YouTube, anyway.
 

WHEN YOU GOT IT—FLAUNT IT!

A JUXTAPOSITION OF CELEBRITY ODD COUPLES, PORTRAYED AS LOVABLE SPOTLIGHT HUSTLERS, TRYING TO OUT-BULLSHIT EACH OTHER AS THEY FLY BRANIFF.

In 1967, When you got it—flaunt it! became an American colloquialism as well as a standard entry in the anthologies of American sayings, almost instantly. It was my slogan for Braniff—a zany, outrageous campaign that featured a smorgasbord of the world’s oddest couples, exchanging the screwiest and most sophisticated chatter heard on television. Our juxtaposition of unlikely couples was unprecedented, creating the perception that when you flew Braniff International, you never knew who might be in the seat next to you. Pop guru Andy Warhol tried (but failed) to engage the sullen heavyweight champ Sonny Liston…Salvador Dali (Wen yo godet—flawndet!) talked baseball with Whitey Ford…black baseball legend Satchel Paige talked about youth and fame with neophyte Dean Martin Jr….poet Marianne Moore discussed writing with crime novelist Mickey Spillane…Rex Reed dueled with Mickey Rooney…British comedienne Hermione Gingold trumped film legend George Raft at his own game, whilst inundating him with pretentious palaver.

Sounds wacky on the face of it, but as we eavesdrop on these odd couples trying to outflaunt each other, we hear everything that has to be said about Braniff. We also imply that you might bump into a celebrity or two on a Braniff flight. (Yet another spot was produced with a Braniff stewardess welcoming an eclectic procession of business travelers: Joe Namath, Emilio Pucci, the Italian fashion designer to the Jet Set, thespians Gina Lollobrigida, Tab Hunter and Sandra Locke, jockey Diane Crump and the Rock group Vanilla Fudge.) They are not idealized celebrities—they are famous people who are portrayed as lovable extroverts, combined to radiate a surreal kind of believability. A commercial has little credibility if we think its spokespersons are hustling a buck. Celebrities must not look like mercenaries. I make them believable by showing them in a human way, downplaying their celebrity.

 

 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
When the Velvet Underground sued the Andy Warhol Foundation
12.12.2013
10:05 am

Topics:
Art
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
Andy Warhol
The Velvet Underground

Velvet Underground-Warhol lawsuit
 
On his 1989 album New York, Lou Reed sang, “No one here dreams of being a doctor or a lawyer or anything / They dream of dealing on the dirty boulevard….” And yet shortly before he died, Reed (along with John Cale) did employ the services of an attorney in order to sue their old chum Andy Warhol (well, sort of). To be precise, in 2012 the Velvet Underground sued the Andy Warhol Foundation for improper use of that famous banana logo that Warhol designed for the Velvets’ first album, The Velvet Underground & Nico.

It’s all kind of a sad coda to the uneasy partnership that Warhol and the Velvets struck way back in 1966.
 
The VU banana iPhone case
The offending iPhone case
 
So in 2012 the Andy Warhol Foundation approved the manufacture of a bunch of iPhone and iPod accessories using the famous banana image, and John Cale and Lou Reed really didn’t like that the organization had sought to, ahem, “deceive the public” into thinking the Velvet Underground offered “sponsorship or approval” of the items, which included “a $149.95 shoulder bag and a $59.95 protective sleeve.” As stated in the lawsuit The Velvet Underground v. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.,
 

VU’s use and application of the design to symbolize the group and its whole body of work has been exclusive, continuous and uninterrupted for more than 25 years. . . . Members of the public, and particularly those who listen to rock music, immediately recognize the banana design as the symbol of the Velvet Underground. . . . It is not merely the graphic reproduction by Andy Warhol of a piece of fruit: it is the ‘iconic’ VU banana.”

 
That was in January of 2012. But don’t get the idea that the Andy Warhol Foundation took the legal challenge lying down over the next few months. For instance, in September 2012 it was reported that in court papers filed in U.S. District Court in New York, the Foundation claimed that the band’s use of the famous image in licensing deals “constitutes unclean hands and illegal trademark use.” The Warhol Foundation claimed that it “enjoys priority of trademark use in the Warhol Banana Design” because the group “never made a bona-fide source-indicating trademark use” of the graphic.
 
Andy Warhol and VU
 
Somewhat sensibly, the Foundation claimed that it owns the rights to Warhol’s name and signature, although given that the signature in question is a stylized font-representation of Warhol’s name, I’d be curious how the exact wording of the legal filing ran. In their counter-filing, the Warhol Foundation made the mirror image of VU’s original claim, stating that the group’s use of Warhol’s name “is likely to confuse consumers into believing that the Warhol Foundation or other authorized representative of Andy Warhol has sponsored, approved or authorized the good or service in question.” Exactly: there’s no lower blow than implying that the Andy Warhol Foundation would ever, ever authorize some cheesy Warhol “shoulder bag” or “protective sleeve”—which, let’s recall, was exactly what they did.

In May of this year, the two parties reached a settlement.

So thorny! Call me crazy (or Solomon), but it sounds like a situation where both parties have some claim over the copyright, so maybe a shared copyright is appropriate, if that’s even a thing. The details of the settlement, as is usually the case in such matters, have not been disclosed.

Here’s a brief clip about the origins of the Warhol/VU partnership from Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film from the PBS American Masters series:
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
In the studio with Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, 1966
12.02.2013
11:24 am

Topics:
Art
Pop Culture

Tags:
Andy Warhol
Pop Art
Roy Lichtenstein

lichtwarhcolorsix.jpg
 
Pop Artists Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol divulge some of the influences and techniques to their work in this documentary by Lane Slate from 1966.

Artists are not always the best expositors on their art. There are the exceptions like David Hockney, who inclusively shares his knowledge through television documentaries, or Francis Bacon, who spent hours in conversation with David Sylvester discussing the influences and sources for his work. Here, we find Lichtenstein enthusiastic though slightly inconclusive, and Warhol being just Andy.


Roy Lichtenstein’s bold, bright, iconic paintings of comic book panels and advertisements offered an ironic commentary on sixties’ consumer society, while at the same time showed an artist attempting to make art viable in such a world. When Lichtenstein explains the ideas and intentions behind his work, his answers come spilling out like the contents of a shaken can of cola, the bubbles of information frothing over into long stream of consciousness answers, which never really come to a formal resolution.

Lichtenstein begins with a description of the modern landscape that inspired his work and influenced his style:

”I think we’re living in a society that is to a large extent is Pop, I think it’s one of the facets of our society, and it’s one of the facets of present society which is new, and is one of the facets which hasn’t existed before.

“It’s made in a way, partially, a new landscape for us. In the way of billboards, and neon signs, and all the stuff we’re familiar with, and also literature, and television, radio, almost all of the landscape, all of our environment seems to be made, partially, of a desire to sell products.

“This is the landscape that I am interested in portraying. I’m also not only portraying it, but I am working in the style of it, or a style which at least parodies the style of everyday art, everyday society. 

“I am interested in portraying a sort of anti-sensibility that pervades the society and a maybe gross over-simplification. I use that more as style rather than actuality. I really don’t think art can be gross and over-simplified and remain art—it must have subtleties, and it must sort of yield to an aesthetic unity, otherwise it’s not in the realm of art, it’s something else probably. But I think using it as a style gives it a kind of brutality, and maybe hostility that is useful to me in an aesthetic way.”

Okay, Roy.

Andy Warhol starts his interview with a renunciation of the reverence with which art and paintings are given.

”Why I don’t paint anything? Because I hate objects. I hate to go to museums to see pictures on walls that look so important because they don’t mean anything, I think.”

It’s a good start, as Warhol could give a masterclass in being inarticulate. Of course, it’s all deliberately elusive, and just watch how quickly he loses interest once the questions become about the personal rather than his work.

“You should just tell me the words and I’ll repeat them. I’m so empty today, I can’t think of anything.”

The interview ends with Warhol talking about The Velvet Underground, before he is seen inflating silver balloons as the band rehearse in the background.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Fanciful recipes illustrated by a young Andy Warhol
11.21.2013
12:50 pm

Topics:
Art
Books
Food

Tags:
Andy Warhol
cooking

Andy Warhol
 
In 1959—three years before his breakout solo exhibition at Eleanor Ward’s Stable Gallery in New York—Andy Warhol teamed up with a well-known socialite named Suzie Frankfurt to produce a slim satirical cookbook mocking the trendy French cuisine recipe books that were all the rage at the time. It was called Wild Raspberries, named in jest after the Ingmar Bergman movie, Wild Strawberries, that landed on U.S. shores the same year. Frankfurt took care of the text, Warhol did the illustrations, and none other than Julia Warhola—Warhol’s mother—did the lettering. Warhol hired several young men to help with the illustration—some have argued that this cookbook was the genesis of Warhol’s later assembly line method of art production. 
 
Andy Warhol and Suzie Frankfurt, Wild Raspberries
Andy Warhol and Suzie Frankfurt, Wild Raspberries
 
Frankfurt appears to have been a pretty interesting woman. She was an interior designer and worked at Young + Rubicam in the 1950s, the same time that Warhol was working as a commercial artist. As her New York Times obituary put it in 2005, “A bohemian hostess, the flame-haired Ms. Frankfurt was known as a creative catalyst as well as a celebrity decorator. The designer Gianni Versace, for example, credited her with introducing him to America when he was largely unknown, not to mention also introducing him to Studio 54.”
 
Andy Warhol
 
Andy Warhol
 
More recipes after the jump…..

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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