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Andy Warhol News - May 2020

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The Xavier Hufkens Gallery continues its free screenings with John Chamberlain film

Ultraviolet in film about John Chamberlain

Warhol star, Ultra Violet, appears briefly in Heartbeat

May 23, 2020: The Xavier Hufkens Gallery continues its free-to-view online screenings of films about artists with Heartbeat, a film about Andy Warhol's artistic colleague John Chamberlain. In an interview with Patrick Smith in 1978, MoMA curator Henry Geldzahler recalled that Warhol had a "John Chamberlain crushed car sculpture" in his home in 1960. Warhol paid tribute to Chamberlain with his painting John Chamberlain (also known as 315 Johns), cat. rais. no. 1939.

John Chamberlain was also at the filming of Andy Warhol's film, Lonesome Cowboys, as recounted by David Bourdon in his biography about Andy Warhol, simply titled Warhol. Bourdon was a friend of Warhol and was at the filming of Lonesome Cowboys.

Chamberlain was also one of the artists asked to show at the New York State Pavillion at the 1964 World's Fair (the same pavillion that briefly featured Warhol's Most Wanted Men series).

The gallery is also currently screening Antony Gormley, Being Human (2015) (Available until 29 May, 2020, 4pm CET) as part of a series of documentaries about artists which they are showing online at no charge while the gallery is closed during the COVID pandemic. Highly recommended.

Upcoming is Thierry De Cordier, C'est moy que je peins (1996) Available 29 May—12 June, 2020.

Tom Sokolowski has died

May 7, 2020: The ex-director of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh has died. Sokolowski was appointed head of the museum in 1996. after serving as director of New York University’s Grey Art Gallery & Study Center. He was succeeded by Eric Shiner in 2011. (Shiner left the Warhol in 201 and is currently the Artistic Director for the White Cube gallery in New York.)

In 2017 Sokolowski was appointed the director of the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University. An interview with Sokolowski detailing his involvement in World AIDS Day appeared in the Rutgers' student magazine, The Daily Targum, last year, on December 4, 2019.

Added: May 8, 2020: The Pittsburgh Gazette reports "Mr. Sokolowski, 70, suffered a seizure that cased major brain damage and died Wednesday at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J... A memorial service is planned at a later date at Rutgers University. Memorial contributions may be made to the Tom Sokolowski Intern Fund, Grey Art Gallery, New York University, 100 Washington Square East, New York, NY 10003."

Andy Warhol's mother "did not live in a basement..."

May 6, 2020: Although many accounts of Warhol's life indicate that Warhol's mother lived in his basement in New York and tended to drink a lot, Warhol's nephew recalled otherwise. In 2003, when the New York Times published an article which said that Warhol's mother lived "in the basement of the house, where she had a cross on the wall, a few sticks of furniture and countless Siamese cats. Apparently she spent most of the day drinking Scotch...," Warhol's nephew pointed out that rather than living in a basement she actually had a "a lovely garden apartment."

The following letter from Warhol's nephew appeared in The New York Times on June 8, 2003:

June 8, 2003
Warhol's Nephew

To the Editor:
At first I was so very pleased to see a review of my new children's book, Uncle Andy's (May 18). Laura Shapiro, the reviewer, perceives the book as the fond memory that it is of our childhood visits to New York City to see our uncle Andy Warhol and his mother. Though she is very complimentary, she accuses me of shading the facts about someone I knew for almost 20 years. My grandmother did not live in a basement with a few sticks of furniture and drink Scotch all day long. I guarantee you that she had a lovely garden apartment with beautiful furniture, and she did not drink! Those comments were grossly inappropriate and out of place. Shapiro seems to have relied on an unreliable biography.

James Warhola
Tivoli, N.Y.

Gerard Malanga's photography and poetry on Instagram

Gerard Malanga

Poem about Warhol star Denis Deegan by Gerard Malanga on Instagram

May 4, 2020: Warhol star Gerard Malanga is posting photographs and poetry about some of the people who appeared in Andy Warhol's films, on his official Instagram account, gerard_malanga.official. Above is Denis Deegan, one of Warhol's "most beautiful boys":

Callie Angell (Andy Warhol Screen Tests: The Films of Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonne: v. 1)

The Screen Tests were, in fact, originally inspired by a collection of photographs, the mug shots of thirteen criminals that Warhol found in a New York City Police Department brochure titled The Thirteen Most Wanted. From the brochure, Warhol derived the idea for the first Screen Test films, a series of portrait films to be called The Thirteen Most Beautiful Boys. The earliest mention of these films is found in the diary of Kelly Edey, who noted on January 17, 1964: "This afternoon Andy Warhol made a movie here, a series of portraits of a number of beautiful boys, including Harold Talbot and Denis Deegan and also me."

Deegan is also mentioned in Michael Smith's autobiography, Me & Others. Smith (a playwright and theatre reviewer of the Village Voice) went to Yale at the same time as Denis. During the early '60s they shared an apartment on the Lower East Side in New York. In his autobiography, Smith also recalls a visit from Deegan during the 1980s:

Michael Townsend Smith (Me & Others (Fast Books Press, 2018, p. 281-2)):

Denis Deegan called, out of the blue, and we met for lunch near City Hall. I had not seen Denis for fifteen years, since the time he showed up at Johnny's and sought to reclaim a few prized items I had been keeping for him. This made Johnny so mad that he threw most of them out the fifth floor window into the street.

Denis, whose directing career in New York had come to nought, had been living in Paris, married for a time to a Swedish model, with whom he had a son... He had worked as a model himself, at one time "the most beautiful boy in Paris," later as a garden designer. I was glad to see him, despite his tiresome braggadocio. If he had so many rich friends in France who adored him, what was he doing in New York trying to impress me with the Latin names of plants?

It took several lunches for me to realise that Denis was broke and needed a job...

The "Johnny" mentioned in the above quote was Johnny Dodd, the lighting designer of the Caffe Cino who later died of AIDS. Smith and Dodd were lovers from the early '60s to Spring 1971.

Germano Celant dies in Milan from COVID 19

germano celant andy warhol

Exhibition catalogue for Andy Warhol: a factory by Germano Celant

30 April 2020: Art writer and curator, Germano Celant, died of complications from COVID 19 on April 29, 2020. He was mostly known as the "father" of the Arte Povera movement, based on a manifesto he wrote, "Notes for a guerrilla," which was published in Flash Art magazine in 1967.

In 1974 Celant edited the catalogue raisonné  of Piero Manzoni and in 1988 he was made the senior curator of contemporary art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.

In 1999 he curated the "Andy Warhol: a factory" exhibition which travelled to the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (October 3, 1998 to January 10, 1999); the Kunsthalle at Karplatz Vienna (February 5 to 2 May 2, 1999; and the paleis voor schone kunsten Brussel (June 1, 1999 to September 19, 1999).

He worked as the artistic director of the Fondazione Prada from 1995 to 2014.

Added May 5, 2020: An article by Massimiliano Gioni on "What He Learned from Germano Celant, the Troublemaking Curator with a Maniacally Precise Mind" can be found on Artnet.

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