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Henry Geldzahler (1964)

B/W Silent/99 mins/16fps
filmed 1st week July 1964

Andy to Henry: "Oh, you know so much. Teach me a fact a day and then I'll be as smart as you." (L&D139)

Henry Geldzahler

Henry Geldzahler being interviewed by Barbaralee Diamonstein in 1978


The day after he shot Empire, Andy Warhol used the leftover film to shoot Henry Geldzahler sitting on the Factory couch on Sunday July 26, 1964. According to Geldzahler, Warhol was absent from most of the shooting. After setting up the camera, he went to make some phone calls, occasionally returning to make sure the camera was running properly. (FAW20) Henry sat there, staring into the camera, smoking a cigar and becoming increasingly uncomfortable.

Andy had met Henry through Ivan Karp, art dealer Leo Castelli's assistant. Geldzahler had just been made assistant curator for twentieth century American art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. They became friends, talking on the phone daily and going to dinners and parties together. (L&D138-9) Henry had been raised in Manhattan, then attended Yale as an undergraduate and Harvard as a post-graduate student. (POP15)

From Pop: The Genius of Andy Warhol:

"Cultivated but also hip - a pot smoker who, by 1965, had experimented with a wide range of mind-altering drugs - Henry was alive to the next new ting, not only in art but in the realms high or low beyond it... An extremely bright child with a low boredom threshold (as an adult he was diagnosed with ADD)... Geldzahler was fond of telling how, at fifteen, he had gone to a show of Arshile Gorky's paintings, 'stayed three hours, came home, threw up, slept for eighteen hours,' after which he resolved to become a curator." (SC82)

Henry and Andy began to drift apart in 1965 when Henry and his boyfriend, Christopher Scott, moved in together.

Andy Warhol:

"... there's nothing more depressing than calling up somebody you've been calling up for years, any time of the day or night you felt like it, and suddenly someone else is answering the phone and saying 'Yes, just a minute.' It takes the fun out of it...I could only be really good friends with unattached people... if they're married or living with somebody, I would just forget them, usually." (POP139)

Although they continued to speak on the phone "every other day or so," (POP195) Andy and Henry further drifted apart in June 1966 when Geldzahler was appointed the commissioner for the Venice Biennale and didn't tell Warhol, who read about the appointment in the New York Times. He also didn't use any of Andy's paintings in the show.

Gary Comenas

Andy Warhol