NEW DANNY WILLIAMS FILM
Edie Sedgwick& Harold Stevenson
in a clip from one of Williams' films
A new film is currently in production which includes never-before-seen footage of Edie Sedgwick and other Warhol stars shot by Danny Williams in the sixties. Williams was a Factory regular who did the lighting for the Exploding Plastic Inevitable. While cataloging Warhol's films for the forthcoming film catalogue raisonné (expected in 2005), Callie Angell came across eighteen 16 mm short films that were shot by Williams in the sixties. Clips from these films will be included in a feature-length documentary (working title: The Danny Williams Story), directed by Williams' niece, Esther Robinson. The footage includes shots of Warhol as well as other people who were around during the era, including the American artist Harold Stevenson. Stevenson has always claimed that he was the subject of Warhol's first film although no footage has ever been found to back up his claim. Williams' footage shows Stevenson cavorting on the couch with Edie Sedgwick and Paul America.
In addition to the footage from Williams' films, Robinson's movie will include interviews with people who knew Danny during his Factory days. Williams disappeared in 1967. His clothing and car keys were found wedged in a rock near Boston Bay. He was presumed drowned, although no body was ever found.
NEW NICO FILM
A new film about Nico, based on James Young's account of touring with the singer in the 1980's, will be directed by David Mackenzie who previously directed Young Adam starring Tilda Swinton and Ewan McGregor. Mackenzie is currently working on the script for the film with Janet Peoples who wrote Twelve Monkeys.
James Young's book, Nico: Songs They Never Play on the Radio (aka Nico: The End) is currently out of print in the states, but there are still copies available from Amazon.co.uk. Young also appears in the film, Nico Icon, where he is interviewed extensively about what it was like playing keyboards in Nico's band:
James Young: "She [Nico] was almost proud of the fact that her teeth were rotten and her hair was grey and, you know, her skin was bad and she had needle tracks all over. She liked that. That was her aesthetic... She was the queen of the bad girls, you know. Terrifying. She was terrifying. And with her manager, you know, the fights, I mean they would have knife fights..." (NI)
NEW WARHOL FILM BY JOHN CALE
John Cale is currently working on a film about Andy Warhol titled Everybody Had a Camera, in conjunction with C.S. Leigh. Leigh recently directed Process (2004) which also featured music by Cale.
Cale's Warhol film is currently in pre-pre-production, with initial work on the script starting this month (June 2004). The film will end with the shooting of Warhol by Valerie Solanas - an incident that has been used as the end-point for numerous Warhol related films and books in the past, the most well-known being I Shot Andy Warhol.
I'LL BE YOUR MIRROR (in July)
I'll Be Your Mirror: The Collected Andy Warhol Interviews, originally announced here in October 2003, is due to be published in July 2004. Author and radio DJ, Kenneth Goldsmith, has compiled over 300 pages of previously published magazine and newspapers interviews with the artist covering his entire career.
Although the book will retail for $17.00, Amazon is currently offering a 30% reduction for pre-orders here (USA) or here (UK) ou ici (France).
New York magazine recently published an article about the search for the identities of some of the subjects of Warhol's Screen Tests who are still unknown. Interestingly, it mentions that the "sugar plum fairy" (aka Joe Campbell) who appeared in My Hustler, is now a a retired land surveyor.
The New York article is accompanied by a photograph of Warhol star Bibbe Hansen watching her screen test (left) which she made when she was only 13 years old. Bibbe, who also appeared in Warhol's Prison and Restaurant, celebrated her birthday earlier this year by giving an brilliant performance as Ruth Etting at the Parlour Club in West Hollywood (right).
The full New York magazine article is at www.bibbe.com/intelligencer.htm. Bibbi Hansen's website is at www.bibbe.com
HAMMER & SICKLES IN LONDON
Andy Warhol's Hammer and Sickle drawings are currently on exhibit at the Haunch of Venison art gallery in Mayfair in London. The drawings are accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with text by Warhol's studio assistant, Ronnie Cutrone.
Cutrone had originally searched for a photograph of a hammer and sickle that Warhol could use for the series, but, not finding an appropriate image, he went to Canal Street and bought an actual hammer and sickle which they then photographed at Warhol's studio. Warhol later signed the hammer and sickle they used for the photographs and gave it to Halston's boyfriend, Victor Hugo, who displayed the two items in a plexiglas box at the apartment he shared with Halston.
The Andy Warhol: Hammer and Sickle exhibit closes on June 15, 2004.
SLEEP AT THE BIG NOTHING
Andy Warhol's Sleep will be shown on July 21, 2004 at the ICA Philadelphia as part of the "Nothing Cabaret" at The Big Nothing exhibition which also includes Andy Warhol's Invisible Sculpture. The exhibition also documents the 1965 Warhol show at the ICA where Warhol and Edie Sedgwick were forced to escape from hordes of fans via the roof of the building. Warhol is also featured in the video Chelsea Girls With Andy Warhol, included in the exhibition, which was filmed by Viva's ex-husband Michel Auder.
According to Warhol's art assistant, Ronnie Cutrone, the idea for an invisible sculpture originated in 1974:
Ronnie Cutrone : "Andy wanted to make the Invisible Sculpture... so, again, we got out the Yellow Pages and found burglar alarms, different systems. Some with sound, some with light beams. They were all different looking and sculptural because they had different shapes and different systems. We mounted these burglar alarms on brackets all around the perimeter of the big room in the middle of the Factory, which was by then referred to not as the Factory but as Andy Warhol Studios. And we aimed them all at the center of the room where nothing existed.
If you walked into the room and you hit this center point, all of these alarms would go off. You'd have every different kind of sound; chirping, booming, buzzing. It was funny. But it was also a kind of existential abstract question: If a tree falls in the forest and there is nobody there to hear it, does it make a sound?... It was a brilliant conceptual work but also very physical because we actually had the mechanical alarms. It was like a kinetic sculpture in some way: a sound sculpture, a light sculpture. But there was nothing there; it was totally invisible...
The Invisible Sculpture stayed up for a long time, but it was experimental really. We only had it activated for maybe a month. It used to drive Fred crazy; it was almost like a practical joke. Andy and I would drag somebody in and say, 'This is the new art; go stand in the middle of the room.' And they would, and all the sirens would go off. Then Fred would come and say, 'Andy, I'm on the phone.' Or Brigid would yell. Everybody would yell because Andy and I were constantly having people walk into this imaginary space." (UW66)
The 1974 Invisible Sculpture installation described by Cutrone was considerably different than the actual Invisible Sculpture presented by Warhol at the Area nightclub in May 1985. It is the 1985 sculpture that is being presented by the ICA - basically an empty pedestal and wall label with a photograph of Warhol standing next to the sculpture taken by Patrick McMullan.
The Big Nothing exhibition continues until August 1, 2004 and also includes the work of Ray Johnson, with photographs of Johnson by William S. Wilson.
RAY JOHNSON AT GIMPEL FILS LONDON
An exhibition of the work of Ray Johnson is currently showing at the Gimpel Fils gallery in London.
Johnson was the founder of the New York Correspondance School and played a pivotal role in the development of pop art. His Elvis predated Warhol's Elvis by seven years.
The documentary on Ray Johnson, How to Draw a Bunny, will be shown in London at the Camden Arts Centre on June 30 at 6:30 pm. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Clive Phillpot and Angela Flowers who both knew Johnson. Dates of forthcoming screenings in the U.S. are here.
Although Johnson was never featured in any of Warhol's films, he assisted Warhol during the filming of Jill Johnston (Dancing) and also brought Warhol to Billy Name's apartment for a haircutting party which gave Warhol the idea for his Haircut films.
Billy Name: [March 12, 2004]: "... walking down the street with Ray Johnson... it becomes alive. The fire hydrants are artistically, aesthetically alive all of a sudden and part of your world and engaging with you... and all of a sudden you see the world as this wonderful, delightful, joyful, playful place and it doesn't stop. It's not like it's something you get when you're with Ray and then you go away and say 'gee I oughta see Ray again and get that feeling.' He was such a master that he incorporated your mind into his collage so that you became part of this joyful world that he lived... I have mixed feelings about his final act, the death scene... and I can only accept it as part of one of his art pieces because there's no way this guy could have been emotionally driven or socially driven to do away with himself..." [Artists Talk on Art]
Ray Johnson committed suicide on January 13, 1995 at the age of 67 by jumping off the Sag Harbor bridge in Long Island and swimming out to sea.
William S. Wilson: "This was not a sudden eruption of melancholy... Ray planned this carefully as a rational adult. . . Ray Johnson intended to die on a Friday the 13th in his 67th year." (Ray Johnson: Last Post...)
The Ray Johnson: How to Draw a Bunny exhibition continues at the Gimpel Fils gallery until July 10, 2004. The website for the gallery is at: www.gimpelfils.com
WARHOL BREAKS RECORD AT AUCTION
A record price for a Warhol Self-Portrait was paid at last month's contemporary art auction at Sotheby's when a yellow Self Portrait from 1986 went for more than $3m, well above the high estimate of $2m. Three other Warhols - Superman, Four Jackies and an earlier Self-Portrait all sold for approximately $1.8m each. Warhol's Five Deaths, an orange silk-screen of a car crash from the early 1960s, went for $3m.
Sothebys explained the rising prices for Warhol's works by saying that it may be because collectors are realizing that there are fewer works by Warhol available than previously thought. At the same auction, works by Cy Twombly, Francis Bacon and Mark Rothko failed to sell. The two works that sold the highest prices were Gerhard Richter's 180 Farben and Kerze which sold for just under $4m each.
GO GO IN KINGS CROSS WHILE SAATCHI SIMMERS
Larry "Go-Go" Gagosian has opened a new gallery in the Kings Cross area of London - an area previously known for its proliferation of junkies, thieves and welfare hotels. There are no other major art galleries in the area. Gagosian's new gallery - now the largest commercial art gallery in London - is housed in the former municipal garages at 6-24 Britannia Street across from the headquarters of the Stop the War Coalition.
Gagosian was born in 1945 and started his career in Santa Monica in the 1970s, buying prints for $2-$3 and selling them for $15.00 after framing them. His rise to fame has not been without controversy. Last year the United States government brought a lawsuit against him for taxes owed as the result of the sale of some paintings from the Richard Weisman collection.
Gagosian, who represents Warhol's estate, was the dealer who gave Jean-Michel Basquiat his first one man show in Los Angeles. His numerous Warhol exhibitions include Warhol's Most Wanted Men in 1988, the Oxidation paintings in 1986, the Shadow paintings in 1989, Heaven and Hell in 1992, the Rorschach paintings in 1996, the Camouflage series in 1998, Philip's Skull in 1999 and the Diamond Dust Shadow paintings in 2000.
The opening exhibition of the King's Cross gallery consists of new paintings by Cy Twombly - 10 paintings completed this year (2004) and Victory - a sculpture from 1987.
The May 26th opening night party for the exhibit was a low-key but gossip-fueled event. The day before the party, major works owned by fellow dealer/collector, Charles Saatchi, were destroyed in a warehouse fire that had raged for two days. The destroyed works tragically included Jake and Dinos Chapman's Hell and, less tragically, works by Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst. Two works by Emin were destroyed in the fire. She had removed 30 works of "personal art" from the warehouse several days before the fire. (BF)
Damien Hirst was recently in the news because of an ongoing feud with Charles Saatchi who almost single-handedly catapulted Hirst to fame. Hirst lost out on the chance to have a major retrospective of his work at the Tate Modern because Saatchi held his own Damien Hirst retrospective instead. Hirst publicly criticized Saatchi's gallery and refused to take part in his own retrospective. He deleted all mention of the show in his CV. When asked about the Saatchi exhibit, Hirst replied, "I'm not Charles Saatchi's barrel-organ monkey. He only recognises art with his wallet..." (GU2) Hirst ended up buying much of his art back from Saatchi, only to have 16 of his self-owned works destroyed in the fire.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated. An insurance assessor at the scene said that the damage was so extensive that the art world might never know whether the fire was accidental or the result of arson: "You probably won't know the real reason because it's so catastrophic."(GU3)
The Gagosian gallery website is at: www.gagosian.com The Saatchi website is at: www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk The international Stuckist art movement website is at: www.stuckism.com
The burnt ruins of the warehouse complex that some art critics
have referred to as Brit Art's "ground zero". (photo: Richard Lewis)
BLONDIE - BACK IN THE UK
Blondie will be returning to the UK during the month of June as part of their world tour promoting their latest (excellent) album, The Curse of Blondie. They will be playing London on June 14, 2004 at the Hammersmith Apollo. Full details are on their website at www.blondie.net which also features quicktime downloads of the band performing some of their songs.
The history of Blondie intersects with the Warhol era in several ways. Debbie Harry was a friend of Warhol in the eighties, but her connection with the Warhol crowd goes back further than that. In the early seventies she replaced Holly Woodlawn as the lead singer of a band called Pure Garbage which became the Stilettos.
For more information about Blondie and a pictorial history of the band, you might want to have a look at the "definitive" book on the subject, Blondie, From Punk to the Present: A Pictorial History compiled by Allan Metz, with essays and a foreword by Warhol biographer, Victor Bockris.
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