If nationwide marriage equality ever becomes law, one could argue there’s been no more normalizing force for reshaping American attitudes than the TV sitcom. Jesse Tyler Ferguson, star of ABC’s Modern Family, is the latest in a growing line of convention-shattering, uncloseted actors to play openly-gay TV characters, and one of the first to play a gay father — earning three consecutive Emmy nominations along the way. Andy Warhol, of course, was something of a forebear: He was a prophet on the power of mass media, and one of the first American celebrities to challenge mainstream audiences with his brazen portrayals of gay and gender-bending culture. Here, Ferguson talks bow ties, soup cans, and what he imagine’s Andy’s TV diet might be like today.
What was your first Warholian moment, and when did you first encounter him?
I am sure my first Warholian encounter was the Campbell Soup Can. I feel like that soup can was the introduction to Warhol for about 95% of the human race. For the other 5% it was probably Studio 54. I wish I were part of THAT 5%.
What or who would be Andy’s muse if he were alive today?
I would like to think that Warhol would have had a passing interest in me. I know thats selfish, but you asked. As for a muse, I am sure he would have loved Lady Gaga.
What are your latest cultural obsessions?
I am a bit of an Instagram fanatic. I love that social media is encouraging people to use an artistic eye. Vine is also fun.
What would you consider Warhol’s most memorable quote or anthem?
“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself”. SO SO true. It’s my mission statement.
If you could collaborate with Andy on a project, what would it be?
I would TOTALLY get him to be a guest designer for my bow tie line: Tie The Knot.
Dream dinner-party: you, Warhol, and…?
Me, Warhol, Abraham Lincoln, Michelle Obama and Joan Rivers. Julia Child would cook.
Imagine Warhol had a Twitter account. What kind of thing might he say in 140 characters or less?
What did everyone think of Season 4 of Arrested Development? Totally binge watched that shit! #TweetingNotEating!
Whose portrait would Andy most want to do now?
I assume he would want to paint Obama. You know, stay current.
Soup can or coke bottle?
Soup Can. 95%
Drag every day or only on special occasions?
I am an actor. I basically get paid to do low impact drag every day.
See and bid on Christie’s gay pride-themed collection of Warhol’s drawings and photographs, “For Members Only: Eyes on the Guise,” on sale in an exclusive online auction, June 13-27.