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back to EARLY 1970: ANDY WARHOL GETS A VIDEO CAMERA

John G. Hanhardt (Curator, Whitney Museum Film and Video Dept. and Director of The Andy Warhol Film Project 1991):

"It was in the beginning of 1970, when Warhol acquired a Sony Portapak, a reel-to-reel 1/2 inch system, that he seriously began to explore the video medium. This was shortly after he had started to publish Interview magazine (October 1969) but before Vincent Fremont came on staff full-time with the Andy Warhol Studio in 1971... Interview magazine ultimately served as a model for Andy Warhol's T.V... Fremont would play an important role in developing television projects for Warhol... Warhol himself was shooting video around the home and studio; through the end of 1972, Michael Netter, a college student, did a lot of the camera work. By 1973 the Studio had two Portapaks that were used to document various trips (such as Fremont traveling with Peter Beard in Africa) and the Factory diaries, which began in earnest in late 1971 and continued, first in black-and-white and later in color, regularly through 1976 and more infrequently thereafter.

Warhol had installed in the old Studio at 33 Union Square West a rather intimidating video setup, consisting of a motorized camera turret with remote control, placed on a cart with self-contained lights and a switcher for special effects, which was wheeled around to document visitors and activities in the Studio. At one Christmas party a camera with a wide-angle lens was set up near the door; another camera with directional microphones was positioned across from the Studio couch to record the action... Fremont described how he gradually became involved with Warhol's video work; after 1972 he had to be on call to set up the video camera and lights. 'Andy,' Vincent said, 'would have liked the camera to run constantly.'

During this time, Warhol was involved in developing, with Vincent Fremont, ideas and scripts for television. The first of these, Vivian's Girls (1973), was to be a television show loosely structured around a group of models and drag queens who were living together. Shot on location, it featured Brigid (Polk) Berlin, Candy Darling, Nancy North, Paul Palmero, and others... Vivian's Girls evolved into another video production, Phoney (1973)... and a third production, Fight (1975)... By 1977 Warhol was focusing exclusively on video and television projects... He even had a set constructed at 860 Broadway that was designed to look like the front of a house and that he used to video tape interviews." (VT3-4)

Later Warhol video projects included the television series Fashion (1979-80), Andy Warhol's T.V. (1980-82 and 1983), Andy Warhol's T.V. on Saturday Night Live (1981) and Andy Warhol's Fifteen Minutes (1985-87) in addition to band promos (see filmography).

back to EARLY 1970: ANDY WARHOL GETS A VIDEO CAMERA

Andy Warhol