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Should you cancel the auto-renewal on your Whitney membership to protest the tear gas CEO as Vice Chair?

Andy Warhol: A to B and Back Again

A list of the sponsors of the Andy Warhol retrospective - "Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again" at the Whitney Museum

December 9, 2018: There will be a large demonstration outside the Whitney Museum today, Sunday, December 9, 2018 to protest the fact that one of their Vice Chairmen is also the CEO of the company who provided Donald Trump's military with the tear gas they used to gas asylum seekers trying to enter the U.S. The excuse used by the Vice Chair - that his company only made the tear gas canisters and they are not responsible for determining "when and how they are employed." (ArtNews) - is an excuse that went out with World War II.

European chemical companies who manufactured the drugs used for the death sentence in the U.S. recognised their moral responsibility and stopped providing the drugs. They acknowledged that how the drugs were used was the moral responsibility of the manufacturer. The Whitney Vice Chair, Mr. Kanders, does not seem to believe a similar rationale should be guiding his company's decision. His company did not have to provide the tear gas. Commercial considerations took precedence over human ones.

Do you really want to be a member of such an organisation that has on its board the CEO of a company which manufactures tear gas and other military products? Although you may have recently joined the museum because of the Andy Warhol retrospective, "Andy Warhol:From A to B and Back Again," if your membership is on auto-renewal, you can cancel the auto-renew option by ringing (212) 570-3641, if you choose to do so. That way, if Mr. Kanders doesn't resign, you will not continue to belong to an organisation in the future that supports the manufacturer of tear gas and military products like machine gun mounts and "military holsters.

Frankly, the Whitney should be ashamed of itself. Donna De Salvo, the curator of the Andy Warhol retrospective, has yet to release a statement.

Details of today's demonstration are on Facebook.

Demo at the Whitney Museum on Sunday December 9, 2018

Andy Warhol A-B Whiitney Museum demonstration

Poster by "Decolonize This Place" of Safariland tear gas canisters alongside an image of Whitney director Adam Weinberg

December 8, 2018:There will be a demonstration at the Whitney Museum in New York to raise awareness of the Whitney's Vice Chair's involvement in a company who manufactured tear gas canisters recently used against migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. The organisers have started a Facebook page asking people to assemble on Sunday, from noon to 2:00 pm in front of the Whitney which is currently hosting the Andy Warhol retrospective, "Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again." (See below.)

Further details on ArtNews and Hyperallergenic.

The Whitney Museum's Vice Chair's comment about gassing migrants sounds worryingly familiar

December 5, 2018: ArtForum is reporting that the "Whitney Museum faces mounting backlash over Vice Chair's ties to tear gas manufacture." Warren B. Kanders, vice board chair of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York is also the chairman and CEO of Safariland, the manufacturers of the tear gas that was recently used to gas migrants seeking asylum in the United States. Mr. Kander has released a statement excusing his company from responsibility for the gassing of the migrants, saying that his company's "role as a manufacturer is to ensure the products work, as expected, when needed... [and] not to determine when and how they are employed." (ArtNews)

Warren B. Kanders of the Whitney Museum is the CEO of the tear gas manufacturer Safariland

Nearly 100 Whitney staff members have signed a protest letter which begins:

We are writing to convey our outrage upon learning that Whitney Vice Chairman Warren Kanders’ company, Safariland, is the supplier of the tear gas recently used to attack asylum seekers at the US border, and our frustration and confusion at the Whitney’s decision to remain silent on this matter. We understand this is not new information to leadership or likely to the rest of the Board, but many of us learned of the connection via the Hyperallergic article published November 27, 2018. We also understand the nuanced and vital relationship any nonprofit has to its Board. But we believe that this recently aired knowledge about Mr. Kanders’ business is demonstrative of the systemic injustice at the forefront of the Whitney’s ongoing struggle to attract and retain a diverse staff and audience. And because we feel strongly about this, we believe it is our responsibility to speak to this injustice directly, even as the Whitney has chosen not to. To remain silent is to be complicit...

The full letter and list of signatories appears on the Hyperallergic website.

The ArtForum article notes that Kanders "is listed as a significant contributor to the Whitney’s current Andy Warhol retrospective, Andy Warhol - From A to B and Back Again, which runs until March 31, 2019." The exhibition is curated by Donna De Salvo and sponsored by Calvin Klein, Bank of America, and Delta Airlines, with "generous support" from Neil G. Bluhm, Larry Gagosian, and others.

Andy Warhol - From A to B and Back Again: Reviews

November 6, 2018: "Andy Warhol - From A to B and Back Again" officially opens at the Whitney Museum on November 12th although the opening reception took place on Tuesday, November 7th and the reviews are in - all of them favourable. The New York Times review has some great photographs making it possible to see the how the show was hung. There's also a plethora of pics on instagram - check out the short film of Debbie Harry in front of her portrait on the "blondieofficial" account.

In regard to Holland Cotter's review in the Times, the art writer Blake Gopnik (who has also written for the Times) notes on his Warholiana website, "Forgive me screaming BUT WARHOL’S CHILDHOOD CHURCH DID NOT HAVE GOLD ICONS ON ITS ALTAR SCREEN! So they couldn’t have influenced his gold Marilyns, as per the long-established cliche."

Interview magazine has chosen to publish "Behind the Scenes" photographs which show the Cow Wallpaper being cut up for pasting on the wall.

Meanwhile, the Guardian in the UK has chosen the Paolozzi and Warhol show in Edinburgh as one of their "Exhibitions of the Week" - a show that is based around the quote "I want to be a machine," which Warhol never actually said - as revealed by Jennifer Sichel who gained access to the original tapes of the interview in which he was supposed to have said it. (see below).

Speaking of misquotes, is it only me that finds it strange that the Whitney has named their show after a book that wasn't written by Warhol? As noted by Pat Hackett, "On the first book, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again), I did eight separate interviews with Andy on the basis of which I wrote chapters 1 through 8 and chapter 10. Then, using material from conversations Andy had taped between himself and Bob Colacello and Brigid Berlin, I wrote the introductory chapter and chapters 9, 11, 12, 13 and 14." (See The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again).

Reva Wolf on Andy Warhol's obsession with time, death and repetition

Reva Wolf lecture on Andy Warhol at Neuberger

November 5, 2018: Understanding Warhol's use of repetition is essential to understanding his art. Warhol's diaries reveal his obsession with time (i.e. death), as do most of his early works. Other artists had done serial works before Warhol, of course, but Warhol repeated himself from his very first show of the Soup Cans at the Ferus Gallery and early films such as Eat. But nobody has explained why Warhol repeated himself as he dealt with the concept of time and, ultimately, death. Professor Reva Wolf will be giving a lecture on Warhol and his obsession with time, "Marilyn…and More: Marking Time with Andy Warhol," on Wednesday November 7, 2018 at 3:30 at the Neuberger Museum of Art as part of the "Warhol x 5" series of exhibitions. Professor Wolf is the author of Andy Warhol, Poetry, and Gossip in the 1960s (University of Chicago Press, 1997) and Goya and the Satirical Print (Godine, 1991).

"Asexual" Andy Warhol was treated for STDs according to Warhol biographer

November 3, 2018: An article on "five truths" about Andy Warhol has appeared in the New York Times, written by Warhol biographer Blake Gopnik. According to Gopnik, "it has become accepted fact that Warhol was largely asexual" but his "few lovers still alive talk about his eager, if awkward, maneuvers in bed... Medical records show that Warhol was active enough to need treatment for S.T.D.s."

It's unknown how Gopnik gained access to Warhol's medical records. Sam Bolton was Warhol's last "boyfriend." He was quoted in Bob Colacello's book Holy Terror: Andy Warhol Close Up, as saying that he never had sex with Warhol.

Bob Colacello (in Holy Terror, Andy Warhol Close Up):

Was Sam ever "in love" with Andy?

"After he died, I realized I never loved anyone as much," Sam said, "but it was more like the love for a father, or a best friend." He hesitated, then added, "and it was like romantic love, I guess, a little bit."

Did they ever go to bed?

"Andy wanted to, he tried, believe me. He was not asexual. He would have had sex with me, if I had let him... He wanted me to move into his house, but he never let me see anything but the front hall..." (HT477)

Bolton was only nineteen when he first met Warhol. Warhol's "boyfriend" before Bolton was Jon Gould. When Gould's twin brother Jay asked Jon if he had sex with Warhol, Jon told him that "there was no sexual contact, they were just good friends." (Joseph P. Kahn, "The Muse," The Boston Globe, Boston.com, August 25, 2004)

Before Gould, there was Jed Johnson who had, like Jon, a twin brother named Jay. Jay's boyfriend, Tom Cashin, has said, while discussing Warhol, that "he wasn't shy about bringing his partners over the years around or having all the guys over to his house in Montauk. That’s usually where he would have them do those incredible torso pictures." (Tom Cashin, "Andy Warhol: My First Encounter," Christies.com) Whether anyone was actually having sex, is a question that Gopnik's book will hopefully clear up.

Chuck Smith, Amy Taubin and Jonas Mekas "expected to attend" the premiere of Barbara Rubin and the Exploding NY Underground

November 2, 2018: The documentary, Barbara Rubin and the Exploding NY Underground, will have its premiere at the DOC NYC Festival on November 11, 2018. The director, Chuck Smith, film writer Amy Taubin and Jonas Mekas are "expected to attend." (Ring the venue.) Rubin was an underground filmmaker who filmed Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground at the the annual banquet of the New York Society for Clinical Psychiatry at the Delmonico Hotel in 1966. Probably her most famous film was Christmas on Earth. She was also involved, with Jonas Mekas, in the battle to get Jack Smith's film, Flaming Creatures, to be screened at Knokke-le-Zoute in 1963.

Andy Warhol's Pork reviewed in Art in America

October 30, 2018: I have added to the site the review of Andy Warhol's Pork that appeared in the January - February 1972 issue of Art in America.

Bookings now being accepted for the Keith Haring show at the Tate Liverpool

October 28, 2018: The Tate Liverpool is now accepting bookings for their major Keith Haring exhibition which opens on June 14, 2019 and runs until November 10, 2019.

The curator of the show, which is being presented in collaboration with the Keith Haring Foundation, is Darren Pih, Exhibitions and Displays Curator, along with Tamar Hemmes, Assistant Curator, Tate Liverpool.

After finishing at the Tate, the show will travel to BOZAR, the Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels from December 5, 2019 to April 19, 2020.

Harold Stevenson has died

October 27, 2018: The artist Harold Stevenson, who once claimed to have had sex with Jackson Pollock and painted the huge full-frontal male portrait, The New Adam, using Sal Mineo as his model, died on Sunday October 21, 2018. An interview with Stevenson was published on this site in 2006. The New Adam is currently hung at the Guggenheim.

"Andy Warhol" opens at the California Museum of Photography in December

October 25, 2018: "Andy Warhol" opens at the California Museum of Photography on December 8, 2018 and continues until May 28, 2019.

Bibbe Hansen and C. Carr in panel discussion tonight

October 23, 2018: C. Carr, who is currently working on a biography of Candy Darling, will be joined by Warhol star Bibbe Hansen, Mary Lou Harris and Kembrew McLeod whose book, The Downtown Pop Underground, is published today by Abrams, will participate in a panel discussion tonight at 6.30 pm at the New York Public Library.

Andy Warhol and Merce Cunningham tonight at Stanford

October 22, 2018: Andy Warhol and Merce Cunningham: Returning to RainForest will take place tonight at the Bing Concert Hall. There will be a screening of a film of RainForest, originally choreographed by Merce Cunningham, which included Warhol's Silver Clouds; a live performance demonstration by Silas Reiner; and a panel organzed by Professor Peggy Fallen, the co-curator of the "Contact Warhol" exhibition.

Andy Warhol's Flesh for Frankenstein at U.C. Santa Barbara

October 18, 2018: There will be a free screening on December 6, 2018 at 7:00 pm of Andy Warhol's Flesh for Frankenstein, directed by Paul Morrissey and starring Joe Dallesandro and Udo Kier, at the Casey Wolf Center at U.C. Santa Barbara. It will be followed by a post-screening discussion by Bliss Cua Lim (Film and Media Studies, UC Irvine) and Rachael Ball (Film and Media Studies, UCSB).

Andy Warhol Prints, Polaroids and Photographs

October 18, 2018: "Andy Warhol: Prints, Polaroids, and Photographs from the Collection" opened at the Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina Greensboro on September 29, 2018 and continues until February 3, 2019. Curated by Elaine D. Gustafson. A review of the show by Justin Foxx was posted on The Carolinian website on October 17, 2018.

Mel Ramos dies

October 18, 2018: The Californian pop artist, Mel Ramos (Melvin John Ramos) died on October 14, 2018 of heart failure at the Kaiser Hospital in Oakland, California. He was born on July 24, 1935.

Contact Warhol: Photography Without End

October 17, 2018: The exhibition "Contact Warhol: Photography Without End" continues at the Cantor Arts Center (September 29, 2018 - January 6, 2019). Meanwhile, everyone who ever came into contact with the artist is searching through the large selection of contact sheets and negatives on the Cantor website to see if they can find images of themselves. One site user brought to my attention that I was in one of the photographs taken by Warhol at a party for Interview magazine at the Ritz club in New York in 1980 (I didn't work for Interview - I just liked parties):

James Curley Mellon, James Breese and Gary Comenas at Inteview party, 1980 by Andy Warhol

L to r: Me (with drink), my ex-boyfriend James Breese (with blonde hair) and James Curley at Interview party, the Ritz, December 1980 (Photographer: Andy Warhol) (Gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. to Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University) (Contact sheet no. 2014.41.452)

Changes at the Andy Warhol Foundation

October 12, 2018: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has a new chairperson.  Julián Zugazagoitia, who joined the board seven years ago, is now the chair. There are also three new board members: Naomi Beckwith, curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Cary Davis, senior partner at Warburg Pincus; and Deborah Willis, a professional photographer and chair of the Department of Photography and Imaging at the Tisch School of Arts at NYU. Joel Wachs remains the president of the Foundation, of course, and Donald Warhola the vice-president.

Live stream of Andy Warhol: A Conversation

October 10, 2018: Today's panel discussion at Phillips with Warhol biographer Blake Gopnik, Warhol retrospective curator, Donna De Salvo, and the Warhol Foundation's Vincent Fremont will be live streamed at 6:30 pm New York time (11:30 pm London time) today, Wednesday, 10 October 2018, on the Livestream website.

Dupont twin in rehab

October 8, 2018: The New York Post is reporting that the "Infamous Dupont twins skip 'Studio 54' screening for rehab." More on the Dupont "twins" here.

Ray Johnson explained "moticos" in the first issue of the Village Voice in 1955

October 3, 2018: I've added to the site John Wilcock's first column in the first issue of the Village Voice in 1955 which featured the mail artist, Ray Johnson, discussing "moticos" and the fact that he was going to design book jackets next.

Did Andy Warhol want to be a machine?

Andy Warhol and Eduardo Paolozzi

The National Galleries' website for their Warhol/Paolozzi show based on a quote that Andy Warhol never said

September 27, 2018: An exhibition of works by Warhol juxtaposed with works by Eduardo Paolozzi opens at The National Galleries of Scotland on November 17, 2018 and runs until June 2, 2019. According to the blurb for the show, "This exhibition takes its theme from a much-quoted remark by Andy Warhol: “I want to be a machine”. Behind Warhol’s seemingly facetious quip was the serious belief that art would become increasingly mechanised."

But, as recent research by Jennifer Sichel showed (published in the Oxford Art Journal), Warhol never said he wanted to be a machine. I've covered the topic in a book I've written which will hopefully be out next year and which I quote from below. In my manuscript, I mention the new information about the machine quote in reference to a conversation I had with the art writer William S. Wilson when he was in London:

From The Real World (Chapter 26: "Is Bill, Bill?"):

While we walked back to Bill's B & B from the British Museum, I noticed that he was checking out some of the the guys who passed us and it reminded me of the comment that Ray Allington made about how good looking English guys were. I said the same to Bill and he responded with "yes, and they know it." I asked him about his wife, the artist Ann Wilson - whose first name he sometimes spelled with an e at the end as in "Anne." Why had he left her? To my surprise he said it was the other way round - that she had left him. And even more suprising was the fact that the person she had left him for was Gene Swenson.

Gene Swenson was an art writer and curator who was responsible for the interview that produced Andy Warhol's famous "I want to be a machine" quote - something which Warhol never said. The original interview tapes show that Warhol did say that "everybody should be a machine" but it was during a conversation about men and woman and homosexuality and how everyone should like "everything," including homosexuality. The point that was being made was that people should be as judgmental as a machine, which was to say, not judgemental at all.

The tapes also include a conversation with Warhol and a few others discussing whether Hess would include the comments about homosexuality in the interview or would edit them out. Bill had previously warned me about Hess' editing when I published his article "Prince of Boredom: The Repetitions and Passivities of Andy Warhol," on my site. The article had originally been published in 1968 in Art News, but when I put it on my site in 2004, Bill added a preface which drew attention to Hess' editorial biases. Bill wrote that Swenson "interviewed artists with questions which had a erotic slant" and that his "interviews with artists were not printed as he submitted them to Art News, because Thomas Hess changed words in both questions and responses, editing Art News as a magazine for a wholesome family." (Real World, 161)

(References: Jennifer Sichel, "Do you think Pop Art's queer? Gene Swenson and Andy Warhol," Oxford Art Journal, Vol. 41, issue 1, March 2018, pp. 59-83 and William S. Wilson, "Preface" published on warholstars.org, 2004 for "Prince of Boredom: The Repetitions and Passivities of Andy Warhol.")

Andy Warhol interview by Ralph Pomeroy

After image issue with Andy Warhol interview

Afterimage, No. 2, Autumn 1970

September 23, 2018: I have added to the site an interview of Andy Warhol by Ralph Pomeroy that appeared in Afterimage magazine in Autumn 1970.

Warhol on Basquiat with introduction by Paige Powell

September 22, 2018: Taschen is bringing out a book chronicling the friendship of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat which contains "hundreds" of never before seen photographs along with quotes from the Andy Warhol Diaries. The introduction is by Paige Powell. Should be out in December 2018. A Basquiat exhibition, which includes collaborations with Andy Warhol, opens at the Fondation Luis Vuitton on October 3, 2018 and runs until January 14, 2019.

Ralph Pomeroy

Ralph Pomeroy, 1948

Ralph Pomeroy, 1948 (Photographer unknown) (Collection Edward Field)

September 22, 2018: I have added to the site a short biography of Ralph Pomeroy who collaborated with Andy Warhol on À la Recherche du Shoe Perdu. A poet and (self-designated) painter, Pomeroy was active in the gay S & M scene in San Francisco during his later years. His friend Edward Field recalls, "Ralph’s graduation into S & M was somewhat of a mystery to me, a sneakers-type guy, and it got him into trouble. A too-vigorous session left his wrist fractured and in a splint. Another time, he was in the hospital with a collapsed lung from an early hours stabbing after leaving The Eagle’s Nest, a leather hangout…" (Field, 224)

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