Andy Warhol's Sex Parts

Bob Colacello:

"It was eleven-thirty on a spring morning in 1977 when I arrived at the office, horrendously hung over from the previous night's blitz of vodka,coke, and Quaaludes, but I wasn't seeing things. That was a hairy arm stuffed up a hairy anus in the Polaroids neatly arranged across the top of my desk... Andy had been at it again: photographing sexual acts between street hustlers and call boys arranged by Victor Hugo, Halston's friend. It was all for art's sake, of course: the Torso Series, as the paintings made from these photographs came to be called...

It wasn't the first time that Andy had left the results of one of his Polaroid orgies to dry in my office, but I wanted it to be the last. When Andy arrived an hour later I gave him a piece of my mind:

'Am I supposed to have an advertising meeting in here with these cocks all over my desk? What about all the girls who work here?'

Andy was nonplussed. 'Just tell them it's art, Bob'..." (BC337)

The Torso Series were paintings whereas Sex Parts were prints. According to Victor Bockris, Sex Parts were never exhibited. (L&D418) However, they did show up in the Richard Gere film American Gigolo hanging in the drug dealer's living room. (UW69)

Walter Steding, who was Ronnie Cutrone's roommate and, like Ronnie, also worked for Warhol as a painting assistant, described his involvement with Sex Parts:

"Someone came by saying they had a really big dick. Andy said 'Well, let's take a picture of it,' and then the pictures came to me as the person who had to put them somewhere. I wrote on the box Sex Parts. Then Andy did a whole series of prints called Sex Parts because he saw it written on the box. He would take pictures over a period of a couple of hours of two men screwing. He had a 35mm as well as a Polaroid. I was just sort of there... But I don't think these situations turned him on. In order for Andy to have sex it had to be totally separated from his art, because with art he was only allowed to be a spectator..." (L&D418)

Warhol's main painting assistant, Ronnie Cutrone, recalled both his and Victor Hugo's involvement with the project:

"Victor Hugo... would recruit people from the baths in those days. I was there for all the shootings but not for the recruiting. The choreography was basically strip and make yourself comfortable. Andy was a very shy, coy voyeur. He was like, 'Oh, oh, oh, that's so great. Oh, what can it do? Oh, what a big one. Boy, I wonder how it would look stuck in there?'... It was so wierd and so innocent at the same time - just like all of Andy's sex. There was that period at the Factory when it was just boys and I would bring girls up to piss all over the oxidation paintings. And there would be guys sucking and fucking and Andy would be taking pictures. Later they euphemized the series and called it the Torsos. It used to drive Brigid Berlin nuts. Brigid could go from being the most insane person in the world to a conservative, homophobic, right-wing Reaganite in a matter of four seconds and then back to a total maniac." (UW68)