Author Archives: Phil Chanda

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Andy Warhol in Minneapolis

In 1974, Andy Warhol arrived in Minneapolis with his reported entourage and empty luggages for a screening of his film L’Amore, a book signing and a gallery opening. Almost 40 years later, Christie’s took the Warhol show on the road to reunite Andy with Minneapolis at Aria.




“When Andy Warhol came to Minneapolis it was as if someone had picked up the entire New York art scene and, in the blink of an eye, transported it to Minneapolis. Minneapolis instantly became the center of the world.”   – Gordon Locksley


Christie’s is pleased to present Andy Warhol in Minneapolis, the first North American Private Sale Exhibition in our partnership with The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. This unique initiative allows for the presentation of classic Warhol iconography – including flower drawings, self-portraits and Marilyn prints – within the framework of his connection to the Twin Cities and its notable residents. Warhol first came to Minneapolis in the early 1960s through his friendship with art dealers Gordon Locksley and George Shea, establishing his presence in the city throughout the decade and in 1972 landing a major commission to produce the Sunset prints series for the famed Hotel Marquette. The last show of Warhol’s work at Locksley and Shea’s Mount Curve Mansion Gallery in 1975 is recreated here. From these visits and shows, the artist established relationships with high-profile Midwesterners passionate about the arts, including the Weisman, Fiterman, and Cowles families.


Through his friendship with Richard Weisman, Warhol produced the Athlete Series portraits of leading sports figures of the day, including Jack Nicklaus, Rod Gilbert, and Dorothy Hamill. Key to his process in creating the series as well as for his portraits of socialites Warhol shot various poses of the sitter with his favorite camera, Polaroid’s Big Shot, then selected the ideal image from which to produce a silkscreen.  The Fitermans, Weismans and Cowles, among others, contributed greatly to the cultural and philanthropic communities of Minneapolis, elevating the city to national prominence. It is in that spirit that we proudly announce that proceeds of Andy Warhol at Christie’s sales benefit the grant-making initiatives of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.














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STUDIO 54 Sale Highlights

From APRIL 26 – MAY 3, 2013 Christie’s will feature a glittering selection of Studio 54-themed photographs, drawings and prints. The next online auction will coincide with the 36th anniversary of the infamous New York hot spot that opened April 26, 1977.

Bianca Jagger, Rex Smith and Steve Rubell four stitched gelatin silver prints each: 10 7/8 x 13 3/8 in. (33.9 x 27.6 cm.); overall 21 3/8 x 27 ½ in. (54.3 x 69.9 cm.) Executed in 1976 -1987.
Committee 2000 graphite on paper 23 ½ x 31 ½ in. (59.7 x 80 cm.) Drawn in 1982.
Jerry Hall, Mick Jagger and Party Guests unique gelatin silver print 8 x 10 in. (20.3 x 25.4 cm.)
Studio 54 Complimentary Drink Invitation (F. & S. IIIA.16) screenprint in black on paper 38 1/8 x 25 in. (96.8 x 63.5 cm.) Executed circa 1978..
After the Party (See F. & S. II.183) screenprint in colors on paper, a trial proof presumably unique in this color combination. 21 ¾ x 30 ½ in. (55.3 x 77.5 cm.) Executed in 1979.
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Whether he’s spinning for A-listers at Alexander Wang’s runway show, remixing beats with R&B artist Theophilus London (who he manages), or taking meetings for one of the start-ups he’s involved with, this Canadian-born DJ/entrepreneur has a gift for identifying  pop culture phenoms that will stand the test of time. And like Andy, his creative genius finds its sweet spot at the intersection of music, art, fashion and business, so we’ve learned to view him as a modern authority on all things “cool.” Here, the music man speculates on Warhol’s would-be soundtrack and lets us in on some of his latest personal obsessions. Piquing our interest? Imagining his dream dinner conversation with Gandhi and Beyoncé.


What was your first Warholian moment – when did you first encounter his work?
I think I first saw something about Warhol in my early twenties.  I wasn’t aware what I was looking at, but knowing what I know now, I now realize it was what it was. The first time I actually got to appreciate his work was about two years ago at Naim Khan’s apartment.  He was good friends with Andy and has an incredible story about how he acquired his five massive Warhol pieces.  Since then, I could have never forgotten him, if I didn’t know him so well already.


Who would be Andy’s muse if he were alive today?
Hannah Bronfman.


What are your latest cultural obsessions?
I’m all over the place with my obsessions right now.  Loving new media artists who are benefiting from social media; such as KESH and Curtis Kulig (LoveMe).  I definitely enjoy watching music artists cross boundaries into high fashion; such as Theophilus London and Kanye West. Ultimately just obsessed with watching the growth and progression of culture and its comparison to historic cultural benchmarks.


What would you consider to be Warhol’s anthem/soundtrack?
On the newer side, something mainstream, but also something so underground that hits you right and has a catchy, art rock edge.  Kind of embarrassing, but FUN would hit that category. But for something during his time, obviously it would be the Velvet Underground.


If you could collaborate with Andy on a project, what would it be?
I would have loved the chance to work with him, as anyone would have. What would I have done with him….such a tough question.  I think I would like to pair him up with a musician, a couture fashion designer, and a ground-breaking architect, and build a boutique hotel.  Not sure where it would be or its outlook, but putting all those people together and seeing what they could come up with would be interesting and noteworthy I’m sure.


Dream dinner-party: you, Warhol, and…..?
Frank Sinatra, Gandhi, Beyonce,  and might have to add Gavin McInnes in there.  A very knowledgeable man in all sorts of cultures that we don’t know about.  I think he’d bring out the side in everyone they didn’t know they had.


Imagine Warhol had a Twitter account. What kind of thing might he say in 140 characters or less?
In the future everybody will be world famous in 140 characters or less.


Whose portrait would Andy most want to do if he were alive today?

I think he would have done Kanye West by now, most definitely.


If you could own one work by Andy, what would it be?
I’m a sucker for the classics. Campbell’s Soup and Elvises are definitely up there, but I would have to go with the Oxidation Paintings.


Soup can or coke bottle?
Soup can. Great font and classic branding go a long way and tomato soup is great with a grilled cheese.


Marilyn, Liz or Jackie?
Jackie.  I love me some class.


Drag everyday or only on special occasions?
Only at weddings or bar mitzvahs.


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Instagram: @brendanfallis
Twitter: @brendanfallis


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We’ll have what he’s having. Marcus Samuelsson’s culinary kingdom is not unlike Warhol’s enduring world. Both were anointed by their respective academies at an early age (at 23, the James Beard Foundation awarded Samuelsson its coveted Rising Star Chef Award). And both secured their place as cultural icons by serving the elite and the mainstream with equal fervor. Seven restaurants (including Red Rooster), a cookware collection, a line of teas, multiple endorsement deals, and four cookbooks including a New York Times best-selling memoir, Yes, Chef, have made this pop star the perfect person to weigh-in on Warhol.



What was your first Warholian moment, and when did you first encounter him?
At my sister’s apartment. I remember walking in and seeing a poster of Andy’s tomato soup cans. It wasn’t even her apartment but I remember MTV playing on TV and a Warhol poster on the wall and that was the epitome of cool for me.


What or who would be Andy’s muse if he were alive today?
Janelle Monáe, Kanye and Gaga.


What are your latest cultural obsessions?
Great ethnic food in strip malls. Just visited Little Saigon outside of LA.


What would you consider Warhol’s most memorable quote or anthem?
“In the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” Isn’t that what Facebook is doing to us?


If you could collaborate with Andy on a project, what would it be?
Oh, that’s easy. I would want to design a restaurant with Andy. In fact, when we opened Rooster, there was so much of his influence in the place: we wanted it to be all about New York, cool, unexpected and artistic…everything that makes Andy Warhol.


Dream dinner-party: you, Warhol, and…?
Iris Apfel


Imagine Warhol had a Twitter account. What kind of thing might he say in 140 characters or less?
“Got lost in Harlem and never coming home”


Whose portrait would Andy most want to do now?
Barack Obama


Soup Can or Coke bottle?
Soup Can


Drag every day or only on special occasions?
If we’re talking about me, only on Halloween. (I’m too short to rock it every day.)


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RESULTS: Andy Warhol @ Christie’s: Online Only


New York – Christie’s is pleased to announce an enthusiastic turnout for the first Andy Warhol @ Christie’s online-only sale, achieving $2,297,375—twice the overall pre-sale estimate—to benefit The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Proceeds from this multi-year, multi-platform partnership enable the foundation to continue to develop its long term support of the visual arts.  The auction selling rate was 99% by lot and 99% by value.

“The excellent results of the first Warhol online-only sale demonstrate the international enthusiasm from both new and established collectors who bid from 36 countries, validating Warhol’s democratizing vision” stated Michael Straus, Chairman of the Board of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. “Andy Warhol @ Christie’s has advanced both our philanthropic programs and our work in keeping Andy’s legacy alive. We are thrilled with the results of this first sale and look forward to many more exciting online sales in the years ahead“ added Joel Wachs, President of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

 “Part of what fueled the sale was that so many of the works had never before been seen by the public and so many were unique.  In addition, the online format allowed for bidders from around the world, most of who had never had access to a Warhol work before, to participate in Andy Warhol @ Christie’sstated Amy Cappellazzo, Chairman of Post-War and Contemporary Development.

This first online-only Warhol sale featured works representing a wide array of media spanning the artist’s career, many never before seen by the public.  Estimates ranged from $600 to $70,000, offering both seasoned collectors and first-time buyers intimate access to Warhol’s work. Highlights of the sale included I Love Your Kiss Forever Forever (lot 94), a 1964 lithograph in color,  which sold for $112,500 – almost 40 times its pre-sale estimate, In the bottom of My garden (lot 52), the complete book of offset lithographs colored by hand, circa 1956, realized 14 times its pre-sale estimate with $80,250. The Self-Portrait with Fright Wig screenprint on t-shirt (lot 16) realized $47,500. Especially notable was the turnout for the Warhol photographs, which represent 46% of the lots and were 100% sold.

The sale’s innovative format attracted 65,000 visitors and 263 bidders, which generated over 1,500 bids from 36 countries. The next Andy Warhol @ Christie’s sale in April 2013 will be dedicated to Andy’s legacy at the infamous nightclub Studio 54.

Capucine Milliot
Tel 212 641 5078


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The Andy-Mat

Back in the 1960s, who would’ve guessed that of all the archetypal (white) cultural figures of the era, Andy Warhol was the one whose renown and influence would grow larger and last longer than anyone’s? His posthumous superstardom, a quarter century and counting, has now outlasted his time as a living celebrity. Maybe looking and talking like one of the living dead – ghost? vampire? zombie? take your pick — was part of a brilliant shelf-life-extension strategy. I’m not entirely joking.

Warhol was a specter haunting my youth and young adulthood. As a 14-year-old would-be New Yorker living in Nebraska, I went to a grimy little storefront space in Omaha’s bohemianizing warehouse district to watch Chelsea Girls and Empire State, the first art films I’d ever seen. I was bored and confused but also riveted by the dark, chilly, un-American sensibility I’d never really imagined or even inferred. A decade later, I was part of a Today show crew filming Warhol at the Factory on Union Square as he made prints and performed his dazed-extraterrestrial act; but in the early 80s, when a friend brought him along for drinks in the East Village, I encountered not the soft Andy Warhol character he played on TV but the apparently real man – sharp, bitchy, the ennui and superficiality grim instead of cute. In 1986, he came uninvited to the launch party for Spy magazine, of which I was a co-founder; a few months later he died, and when his bestselling Diaries were published without an index, we supplied one in Spy, including the number of the page (763) on which he’d described attending our launch party.

For most of the last two decades of his life, he seemed almost compulsively interested in parties and celebrity (being one, being among them, publishing a magazine fawning over them) and wealth. As a matter of optimizing his reputation for the long haul, he left earth at the right moment, I think. He successfully coasted into middle age, but another 25 years of coasting probably wouldn’t have been good for the Warhol brand. (See: Dalí, Salavador, 1904-1989.) And death required even the haters to grudgingly grant his importance.

On the other hand, if he’d lived I could see him doing a full-on embrace of the 21st century and its hysterical, screen-obsessed solitude. I think of the Andy-Mat, his 1970s scheme for a chain of fast-food places, a “restaurant for the lonely person,” he said, where “you get your food and then take your tray into a booth and watch television.” Replace the TVs with laptops: Starbucks. Given that his oeuvre is a reductio ad absurdum case study of Walter Benjamin’s big idea about image-making in the 20th century, mightn’t our digital age of post-mechanical reproduction suit new Warhol works of art to a T? For better or worse, it’s Andy Warhol’s world in which we just live.


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The Look of Being Looked At

His famous line about being famous bored him. It was a throw-a-way that turned out to be a message in a bottle. Andy’s prediction/warning/fortune cookie for the future washed up on the shores of Facebook and the X-Factor, American Idol and Twitter. In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes. Tweet perfect.

The new generation is up-load. We exist by posting photos of ourselves on the Web. Anonymity is a temporary condition – where you are before your video goes viral. Celebrity is visibility. Visibility is celebrity.  The desire to be seen – not simply noticed or known – is so tangled up with contemporary ideas about identity that it is impossible to talk about identity as a private matter anymore.  That philosophical absurdity – Does a thing exist if no one is looking at it? – has a new answer: No.

Warhol understood early that brand identity would become the definition of success – for people as well as products. Instant recognition – the shoes, the hair, the face, destroys the distinction between public and private. The famous have no private life and everybody else wants to be famous. The famous endorse the merchandise, the merchandise defines the look.

The visual culture we live in now began in the 1960s – the world of TV and Polaroid, glossy magazines and mass advertising. It’s a culture with a strange paradox at its heart; designed to be instant and disposable, temporary and replaceable, it is terrified of being invisible.  Warhol recognised the art of being visible. His famous 15 minutes was the perfect modern mix of novelty and throw-away.

Warhol loved the throw-away – except that he didn’t throw it away. There are 600 Time Capsule boxes in The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh. These sealed cardboard boxes contain Andy’s litter – his used plane tickets, newspaper cuttings, bits of uneaten food. His day-to-day detritus is fetishized into meaning like the leftover body parts of a saint.

He collected obsessively – when he died it took Sotheby’s nine days to auction his possessions. He photographed, stored and exhibited his life as though he were conducting a forensic investigation into himself. Evidence = existence.  Andy pre-figured – literally – our CCTV world where every act is witnessed.  The age of Photo-ID has a nice Freudian pun: the Id, the instinctive subconscious self has been replaced by the Ego – the surface self.  Photo-Ego is what Andy started. It’s what happens when identity is confused with recognition. How we see ourselves becomes dependent on how others see us. The surface is all there is.

The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.  This is Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Grey for the Airbrush Age. The image is everything – even though it bears no resemblance to the real. But that doesn’t matter because the image reassures us that we are really here.

A Warhol image – Monroe or Elvis, Mick Jagger or Mao Tse Dong, combines instant recognition – visibility – with a highly stylized look. The subject is intimate and remote at the same time. The trick of celebrity is to feel that we are up close. Warhol the portrait painter understood celebrity better than anyone because he understood it as a brand. The photographs and screen prints are tantalizing in what they simultaneously offer and withhold.  Their fascination is undimmed; the longer we look at a Warhol the more mysterious it becomes.

That is a good test of a work of art. If it is novelty, we shall soon see all there is to see and tire of it. We have been looking at Warhol for half a century now. The instant appeal – the advertising gimmick – gives way to what is more difficult.  The familiarity of subject – look there’s Elvis – and the object itself – look, this is a Warhol – strips back to a sense of bafflement. What exactly are we looking at? Bafflement then gives way to unease – the unease we experience when we think we know something well and start to discover that we don’t. Like marriage. Like marriage when you find out about the affair. Forget the famous face, forget the Warhol. What do you see?

Art is about looking. What else can you do with it if you aren’t going to look at it? Every day galleries and museums are full of people looking at art.  Advertising is about looking too. No need to go into a gallery or a museum. Every second we are confronted with images of desire; vacations, Viagra, face cream, ice cream, lingerie, liquor, the perfect body, the perfect life. Visual culture is homogenized like nothing else. Whether we are in New York or New Delhi, in a hotel room or our own bedroom, we will be looking at the same images of desire.

What do we see? Brand names. Celebrities. Dollar signs.  The things that Andy loved and made into his art. So what’s the difference between advertising and art? Or: Why is 100 Soup Cans not the same thing as 100 cans of soup?

As early as 1962, Andy Warhol was accused of crass commercialism. Pop Art was collapsing the notions of what could or couldn’t be art. This was liberating and frightening. Liberation is frightening. It was also democratic. Everybody sees advertising, so why shouldn’t everybody see art?  Warhol said, Most people in America think Art is a man’s name.

Warhol had an instinct for both the value and the vacuousness of the culture of the visible. He wasn’t interested in distinguishing between the two. He had been successful as a commercial artist because he knew how to package product. He wanted to make money and he hustled for wealthy patrons. To him that was part of the art process. If that seemed like a vulgar outrage in the 1960s and 1970s, it was a cliché by the 1980s, the Reagan/Thatcher years when money wasn’t worth anything unless you showed it off.

Warhol was expensive, and he liked being expensive, but he is the artist who did the most to democratize art until Charles Saatchi – another ad-man – launched the YBAs in Britain.  The controversy Warhol generated – real thing or cheap fake, the flamboyant lifestyle at The Factory, the assistants, the piss paintings, the deliberate statements – art is what you can get away with – all of that was good for art.

You didn’t have to be educated or cultured to look at a Warhol. You didn’t need a curator or a headset to explain the symbolism and subject matter. Pop Art was uninterested in connoisseurship, in love with access and immediacy.

Warhol was a celebrity chaser but he wanted more than an invited audience. He was shrewd but he wasn’t cynical. His Coke Bottles and Soup Cans are not, in the end, gimmicks or brand, consumer throw-away or icon. I think of the early work as Starter Art – for Warhol and for an audience who thought art didn’t include them. If art was soup and coke, then we could all have it.  The grocery store as gallery space.  But if everything is art, nothing is art. And we know that’s not true.

Art isn’t what you can get away with – nice Tweet Andy, but I don’t believe you believed it. The work tells a different story.  Art is what gets away with you. Every encounter with a work of art is an elopement. The seduction of the self, the abandonment of the self to a different kind of experience, is what art offers. Every renewal of the artistic method and process is an attempt to wrestle art out of the marriage and into the love-affair. By which I mean the Keep Out signs of convention, respectability, familiarity, jargon. The high priest cult of ‘art’ is a lie about what art is. Art is feeling and experience and excitement before it hardens into meaning. Warhol believed that meaning is over-rated.  I’m afraid that if you look at a thing long enough, it loses all of its meaning.

I don’t read that as negative or defeatist or flip. What does meaning mean after two world wars, the atomic bomb, Vietnam, Watergate, Iraq, the global crisis we are in right now?  In a data-driven world where the accumulation of content is a sign of deep discontent, meaning will have to mean something new. Warhol hit on the truth that individuality – the loadstar of advertising – would accelerate into nothing more than packaging. Our minds were being cloned to want the same things. The wrapper offered difference but the product and the people buying the product were all the same. For all the yak about individuality, there is no ‘me’ in meaning.

If advertising is a kind of identity theft – a misrepresentation of the self as an extension of the product, then art, acting as a lie-detector will do two things; show us the rift in this so-called reality, and offer instead a process of identification – a clue to what we really feel, a means of discovering who we really are.  Art is authenticity. Which is amusing when authenticating a Warhol has recently proved so tricky. Warhol was jealous of his product, controlling the editions, signing and numbering, but that’s the art market not the art. What he delivered was beyond signing and numbering, beyond the expert opinion. Andy Warhol reconfigured both the art object and our experience of it. That’s worth more than every dollar in the sale room – and it’s free.

It’s irresistible Andy – why he sells, why we want to own a piece of him – even if it’s a T-shirt. He’s authentic. Look at a piece of Andy art and it does what it says on the tin.  Even when the tin says SOUP.

Thirty is better than one was another Andy aphorism for the Tweet generation. Less was not more. The repeats, the editions, the revisions, the repackages, came out of advertising culture, but they were not only about consumerism – although they were about consumerism, which was fine with Andy.  Advertising, like porn, has a numbing effect –that’s why we need a new ad every two minutes, like electric shock treatment. Warhol knew all about that. By repeating himself with changes of colour, texture and tone, by multiplying the same image, Warhol focuses the eye. He asks for concentration. Sure you can skim a Warhol and dismiss it as all surface – his detractors do – but I think that is a misreading that comes out of a mis-seeing. Warhol is surface but not veneer.

And how do we learn as children? By repetition. Andy had a childlike quality to him – artists often do and it is part of their strength. Art scholarship makes everything so serious it can be a disservice. Play is a big part of Pop Art. You can have fun with Andy.

Repetition has a religious element too. Warhol was a devout Catholic, though eccentrically so. The rosary is repetition, the liturgy is repetition, the visual iconography of the Catholic Church depends on repetition. It is worth remembering that for most of history most of humanity has been both religious and illiterate. The image/icon was everything – and recognition comes through repetition.  Warhol’s repetitions are a way of reminding us that indifference (seen it all a million times) becomes difference when we are able to stop skimming and start seeing. The surface gives way to what is under the surface.

Warhol was gay, though eccentrically so. The self-conscious self-parody of gay culture is present in Andy’s art. The drama, the glamour, the So what?, is both defence and defiance. Warhol was part of the first wave invasion of gay culture into the mainstream. Many artists are gay – it’s not a coincidence. Creativity happens at an angle. Warhol thought of himself as the odd man out. He was out when it was dangerous to be so. He looked unusual. He felt weird and he longed to belong. Art is only autobiography in so much as the awkward self at an angle is always in there. But. The grit is not the pearl.

Advertising always starts with the same question: What’s the angle?  As soon as you know what the angle is, it’s a straight line. Straight line. Bottom line. Warhol understood all of that. But. Look again. The intense self-consciousness of the image. The play. The So what? The look of being looked at is what we know from celebrities and superstars. Warhol invented that look – and saw through it to the other side.

“For the roses had the look of flowers that are looked at.”  -T.S. Eliot


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How tiresome – and rather quickly, too – the various “Life with” books written by Andy Warhol’s cohorts become when read one after another, memoirs numbering, now, in the tens or twenties, a cottage industry whose silver-foiled eaves shimmer with overexposure. The same story told many times over, written or spoken by theatrical-looking names: Ultra Violet, Viva, Candy Darling and Holly Woodlawn, whose imprimaturs are less impressive, somehow, without “superstar” attached. This is a fact many of Warhol’s self-mythologizing associates seem painfully aware of, with evidence of their perceived susceptibility to tell compulsively, either in print, or for the benefit of eager, young, funded filmmakers, intent on documenting the years preceding Warhol’s great media moment, the years those superstars and other doomed partygoers spent with Him.

In the various memoirs of such Warhol luminaries, the same stories are told with different degrees of intensity: suburban parents, prep school, Catholic school, drugs; Daddy’s money, penury, nervous collapse, Silver Hill; and then the search in New York for a more socially skewered patriarchal figure encouraging of their contrived naughtiness. Children who, after their years with Warhol, their skin now slack, spend their time interpreting the value of their long ago play-space of the Factory, and its lights, cameras, multiple portraits, publishing ventures. With the acuity of fifth-generation Freudians, the Factory having now been relegated to a symbol, an empire is recalled that only a Dad could have built and maintained, since Dads, in their silence and purposefulness, are covetous of the imaginations of children. Fathers in return, with requisite jealousy, act out in order to look down upon their children’s greed, or accept and resent it.

Warhol-as-Mom: Moms take photographs, and want to capture their children as a cipher of their own selves. Warhol took pictures to memorialize the present, even as it happened. Photography-as-death: this moment has past, only to live again in a dead photograph. But Warhol’s pictures are about the vibrancy inherent in the moment, the desire to capture something alive that makes the dying go away. And its banality, too: the cigarettes in the ashtray, the lipstick marks on the half-consumed drink: the ghostly presence of all of Warhol-as-Mom’s children. It was all in the details, his photographs: the life that was rushing by, to be made celebrity of, his transformation into Mom, who kept her eye out for her young, certainly, and to save them from ordinariness.

What Warhol memoirists fail to consider for a moment, or in the time it took them to write their tell-all’s, is that the figure Warhol resonates as in their unconscious –when he resonates as any kind of person at all – was the somewhat more complicated figure of Mom: she of the bad wigs, humility, patience, attention and possessive nature. “If my left foot is dancing a good step, my right foot gets jealous,” Warhol once said to his redactor, Pat Hackett, pointing out, at least in this remark, that his vindictiveness was leveled at himself in the form of a self-deprecating joke. Warhol’s desire to be hollowed-out, a philosophical turn with a girly cast, since being considered “nothing,” or protean, is considered by many women a morally correct social aim, followed by bitterness for adopting this attitude in the first place. Being nothing is the position Moms have taken vis-à-vis their kids, always: Mom defines herself by allowing others to become themselves or superstars first.

In making herself appear unattractive, Warhol-as-She deflected from the possibility of her most pressing and traditional emotional need being satisfied, acquiring a husband who could handle neither the children nor their toys: the spike heels, Cabbage Patch Kids, chattering teeth, and Japanese toy motorcycles.

As a Mom, Warhol-as-She was often “left:” her progeny began abandoning her once they began to accept the skin they were in – an acceptance that resulted in marriage, usually, and thereafter flight from Warhol’s perceived nest or tether, a betrayal that was familiar to Warhol’s idea of love. Around the time Warhol-as-She began taking on those people who rose out of her elevator shaft at the Factory on Union Square, the protracted adolescent needs of her charges were immediately apparent to Her; their needs bound them to Warhol-as-She. And She must have gleaned, again early on, that she could never meet any of their demands, on camera or off.

In effect, Warhol-as-She knew that her actual presence – aside from her role as a producer – didn’t make a difference one way or another since what each of her children was explicitly in search of was what they had known before: the cruelty and indifference of Dads. Warhol, a consummate Mamma’s boy, had never “really” known his father and could not offer this model. In any case, Warhol-as-She thought of men as essentially thinly-charming, stupid, or business-minded, one-dimensional dupes without the wit to want to be Moms, ever.

The first stage in becoming Warhol-as-She was to become “nothing” – a nothing who projected an “affectless gaze” and who had a “ghostly complexion” – the journalist’s quick view of the mask Warhol-as-She wore to shield the world from her prodigious forbearance. Warhol-as-She cultivated her role as a plain female – funky wigs, no make-up, broken-down shoes – as a way of not interfering with the event of her children’s beauty. Moms try not to be beautiful. They do not call attention to their physical attributes until their children do. If Moms comment on the attention they pay in maintaining their physical well-being, they may maim their children’s sense of themselves. No child can accept a mother’s self-interest made apparent.

Warhol’s ghostly complexion was inherited from his Mother as well as the unadorned self-sacrificing, Catholic view of the world and by extension, chaste goodness. Often, Mrs. Warhola’s white-gray poof gives one the impression that her hair has just been washed and set. The freshness of her wash and set makes one believe that the silver pins with teeth used to create waves in her hair have just been put into a plastic container nestled somewhere in her dresser drawer. That plastic container may have also contained a hairnet and some bobby pins. Perhaps her son, Andy, reaching into that drawer to feel her cotton underwear, or to retrieve something else, came across this plastic container and wished that he had hair other than his own thinning mousy brown. Perhaps prefiguring his own stylistic destiny, he imagined himself in a wig more or less the same color as his Mother’s – her hair being short and easy to maintain, an older woman’s hair, the hair of the Mother who survived bringing Andy Warhol into the world. That was the only hair Warhol knew of for such a long time and its significance cannot be underestimated.

One cannot imagine the power in Warhol-as-She having her wig manufactured, first, and then putting it on. It was the only sartorial statement about his feminine life that Andy Warhol was ever to make. He let himself be photographed in it: the wig was the subject of the photograph, not Warhol. The wig was the picture of Warhol’s difference that he preferred to send out into the world. The pictures he took of his children tended to focus less on their actions and more on the signs of their behavior: the ripped stocking, the boring skirt hem, the shirtless shoulders. Amidst his children, Warhol-as-Mom could only photograph himself with his wig, portraying himself as the girl who was not the belle of the ball, but who went to the ball anyway. The leap from having thinning hair to wearing synthetic white hair was as much as he could drag out of the secret internal space out of which Warhol-as-She projected.

Warhol-as-she documented other people in the act of becoming more extravagant versions of themselves – the drag queens in the Ladies and Gentleman portrait series or pancake-white faced and red-lipped divas, for example. But he reached his apotheosis as a Mom encouraging of the theatrical self – especially the theatrical girl self – when he began promoting Candy Darling. Candy Darling’s acting style was that of a woman made out of make-believe; she did not speak her lines but emoted her feelings about the lines originally scripted for and spoken by Hollywood starlets, such as Joan Bennett and Kim Novak. Towards Candy Darling, Warhol-as-She expressed her most tender feelings, perhaps because neither Warhol nor Candy believed they were being leveled at as a real person. Candy Darling was the girl Warhol-as-She felt herself to be – strange, feminized, languageless – or could have become, had Warhol not been more respectful of fear than anything else.

Like any brilliant performer, Warhol was generally more comfortable in character – sometimes it was as a Mom. But within that role of gatekeeper, establisher of rules, nurturer, he exercised a mother’s sentimental prerogative: recording her progeny as they grew and went out into the world. While portraits dominate his production, aspects of Warhol’s photographic work that were of objects, recall a version of Edward Steichen’s legendary 1930 volume, The First Picture Book: Everyday Things for Babies. In that polished work, Steichen made a record of teddy bears, balls and any number of objects that would fill a child’s eye and thus imagination. Warhol’s photographs documented the playthings his children cherished: champagne glasses, glitter, city sidewalks, nail polish, tarnished dreams, and most importantly, hope.


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Andy Mirrorball

I’ll be your New York: it was Warhol’s city, the Loft Kid and his friends were just living in it. With a painter dad and a bohemian-socialite mom, living as A.I.R. in an illegal loft on West Broadway when he was born, in ’64, and with his own aspirations to be a painter or filmmaker, no other possibility existed: Warholism made an ambient influence, a preëxisting condition whose symptoms glinted everywhere, by the time he’d wandered in. The city took the shape of a maze spangled by shifting reflections, Andy Mirrorball hidden somewhere inside like a spider. That magazine, that T-shirt, that air of fatigue and amusement, of crushed innocence, hanging as a wary trace, a fume, over the whole notion of the downtown, over the white walls of the gallery, painted over a thousand times, over the back room of the club, which let you in but didn’t let you all the way in. The incredible authority of rumor: that once upon a time anyone could go there and anything could happen; that he’d been assassinated; that Clockwork Orange had been filmed before Kubrick’s version; that Blowjob existed but you couldn’t see it; that anyone you might have heard of let alone idolized had traced a path to the center of the maze to be cast in that starlight, to be tested, to be tasted, to see for themselves what there wasn’t there to see. (“I don’t like to look in the mirror, there’s nothing there.”) Brando, Dylan, Lou Reed, even teen-age Jonathan Richman wandering up that stairwell. Others had come to be lost there, to echo into phantom refractions, to sign his name as their own, to become famous in a system of “Stars” that shrugged at confirmation anywhere outside the Factory’s walls—a “you can’t fire me I quit” gesture across all extent mediums, from painting to the tabloids to the distant siren of Hollywood celluloid.

Full story at the New Yorker: Andy Mirrorball


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Single Artist Live Auctions, Private Sales and Pioneering Online Auctions
Will Give Collectors Worldwide the Opportunity to Purchase
Original Works from the Warhol Foundation’s Collection
“Everybody must have a fantasy.” – Andy Warhol

NEW YORK, NY (SEPTEMBER 5, 2012) — The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Christie’s jointly announced today that the Foundation has engaged Christie’s for future sales of Andy Warhol’s work from its collection.  Recognizing that the arts community needs its support now more than ever, the Foundation seeks to significantly increase its endowment in order to ensure and expand its long-term support of the visual arts. Towards this goal, Christie’s will conduct phased sales over a period of years using multiple platforms, including single artist live auctions, private sales and continuing online auctions, bringing a wide range of Warhol’s art – much of which has never before been seen by the public at large – to existing as well as new collectors worldwide.  At the same time, the Foundation also plans to mark its 25th Anniversary by making additional gifts of significant works to museums, continuing its long history of donating Warhol’s art.

Paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, and printed graphic material by Andy Warhol will be offered first at a series of single-artist live auctions on November 12, 2012.  Online auctions will begin in February 2013, with private sales conducted on an ongoing basis. Sales will thus be phased over a multi-year period in wide distribution.

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts was created at the late artist’s direction for the purpose of advancing the visual arts.  Since its founding in 1987, the Foundation has pursued that mission by making nearly $250 million in grants to hundreds of museums and non-profit arts organizations nationwide; through grants made to individual artists and arts writers through its “sister foundation” Creative Capital; and through the Andy Warhol Museum, which it founded and endowed with a permanent collection of nearly 4,000 iconic artworks as well as with archival materials.

Michael Straus, Chairman of the Board of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, stated, “For a quarter of a century, the Foundation has carefully honored and preserved the artistic legacy of Andy Warhol by pursuing the mission laid out by him – to advance the visual arts.  It has done so principally through grants funded by sales of artworks left to the Foundation in Warhol’s will, as well as through gifts of such works to museums.  We have now chosen to mark the Foundation’s 25th anniversary year by expanding the scope of our art sales in order to increase our future grant-making capacity.  Christie’s enthusiasm for this endeavor, its deep experience with Warhol’s work, and its spirit of innovation all combine to make it the ideal partner for this venture.”

Steven Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of Christie’s, stated, “It is a great honor for Christie’s to be chosen by the Warhol Foundation for this singular initiative. We believe the multifaceted program we have developed for this collaboration will make these sales a model of creating awareness and access in this new day in the art market.  By engaging with collectors across the three mediums of auction, private sale and online, this program will bring the work of Andy Warhol both to those who already acquire masterpieces and to new audiences anywhere and everywhere in the world who never before imagined they could own a Warhol.”

Joel Wachs, President of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, added, “These sales will provide unprecedented global access to Andy Warhol’s work, in keeping with the artist’s own democratizing philosophy and working methods.  The gifts we will make to museums along with the enhanced grant-making made possible by the art sales, when taken together, will underscore Warhol’s legacy and impact on the art world and will provide an even more secure basis to expand that philanthropy in the future.”

About The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts was established in 1987.  In accordance with Andy Warhol’s will, its mission is the advancement of the visual arts.

The primary focus of the Foundation’s grant-making activity has been to support the creation, presentation and documentation of contemporary visual arts, particularly work that is experimental, under-recognized or challenging in nature. The program has been both pro-active in its approach to the field of cultural philanthropy and responsive to the changing needs of artists. A strong commitment to freedom of artistic expression continues to inform the Foundation’s support of organizations that fight censorship, protect artists’ rights and defend their access to evolving technologies in the digital age.

Through cooperative exhibitions, loans and permanent placement of work in museums nationwide, the Foundation has ensured that the many facets of Warhol’s complex oeuvre are both widely accessible and properly cared for. In helping to establish the comprehensive collection and study center of The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, the Foundation paved the way for new Warhol scholarship and curatorial innovation. The Foundation’s sustained support and oversight of thoroughly researched, extensively illustrated catalogues raisonnés of Warhol’s entire artistic output continues to expand the possibilities for scholarship about his work.

The Foundation has also used its ownership of the copyrights to Warhol images and trademarks to his name and signature as an opportunity to craft creative and responsible licensing policies that are both friendly to scholars and artists wishing to use Warhol images for educational and creative purposes and profitable to the Foundation when the images are used for commercial purposes. Revenues from licensing agreements add significantly to those earned through the continued sale of work from the Foundation’s art collection, enabling the Foundation to build the endowment from which it makes cash grants to arts organizations around the country. Visit the Foundation’s website at

All Andy Warhol Artworks © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.