In advance of our latest Warhol sale, Andy’s World, Deborah Davis reveals the similarities between Warhol and the portrait painter John Singer Sargent, as well as the athlete Warhol would most likely immortalize now, and the power of Andy’s fright wig.
Davis is the author of Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X, which The Philadelphia Inquirer called, “A stunner about a stunner,” and Party of the Century: The Fabulous Story of Truman Capote and His Black and White Ball, among other books. Next year, Simon & Schuster will release her experience traveling across the U.S. in Andy’s shoes, in an upcoming book titled, The Trip.
What was your first Warholian moment, and when did you encounter him?
I sat in front of Andy at a film event at MoMA in the early eighties and was thrilled to be in his presence. Later that evening, my husband made some comment about his wig, and I said, “What wig?” Can you imagine how young and naive I was to have thought his outrageous silver hair was real?
What or who would be Andy’s muse if he were alive today?
Ronan Farrow — he’s the boy who has it all, beauty, brains, lineage, celebrity…and a touch of scandal.
What are your latest cultural obsessions?
The Goldfinch, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Pharrell — because he makes me “Happy!”
What would you consider to be Andy’s most memorable quote or anthem?
“I like to be the right thing in the wrong place and the wrong thing in the right place … because something interesting always happens.”
If you could collaborate with Andy on a project, what would it be?
Andy took a life-changing road trip in 1963 (which I chronicle in my upcoming book, The Trip). In that spirit, I’d like to get in a car with him today, drive cross-country (I’d do the driving since he had no license) and see America through his eyes.
Dream dinner party: you, Warhol, and…?
John Singer Sargent. Two great portraitists and social observers who were practically the same person, though in different centuries. They were both serious artists who had to paint a lot of socialites to pay the bills; they both knew where the bodies were buried and, fortunately, loved to kiss and tell!
Imagine Andy had a Twitter account. What kind of thing might he say in 140 characters or less?
140 characters would be too much verbiage for Andy. He’d use Instagram instead.
Whose portrait would Andy most want to do now?
Jason Collins or Michael Sam. He admired athletes and would appreciate the fact that they have broken new ground in the sports world. Andy always liked to get there first!
Soup can or coke bottle?
Coke bottle, because it really is Pop!
Drag every day or only in special occasions?
Special occasions. As Andy liked to say, “Waiting for something makes it more exciting.”
Christie’s is selling Warhol’s work in a variety of mediums in an online-only auction, running from March 13-25, 2014. (Click here for more details.) For more on this and other online-only auctions at Christie’s, see www.christies.com/onlineonly.