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June News 2012
by Gary Comenas

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The RWA changes it's description of the alleged Andy Warhol sketch of Rudy Vallee but fails to name an expert who believes it is by Warhol

The Royal West of England Academy (RWA) in Bristol has changed its description of the Warhol sketch that they previously claimed in their original press release was "Warhol's earliest work." Journalists who attended the press call will have a copy of the original press release or you can download it here.

In their press release the RWA claimed that the background of the sketch was coloured with "green and orange felt-tip pen." In a previous article, I noted that the felt-tip pen was invented in 1962 and the alleged Warhol sketch was meant to be from about 1938/39. The "felt-tip pen" claim has been removed from the new blurb but the RWA has still not publicly named a single expert who believes that the work is by Warhol. Warhol expert Patrick Smith has denied the work by the artist - see Patrick Smith statement.

The RWA's new blurb for the show repeats the claim that whe work was "unknowingly" purchased "for just $5 (£3) at a garage sale in Las Vegas that included property from Edith Smith, Warhol's former carer." This is despite the fact that Warhol's brother, Paul, who grew up with the artist, has denied that the family knew anyone named Edith Smith. See Paul Warhola statement.

Another claim that is repeated by the RWA in their new blurb is that "Mr Fields discovered the sketch inside a framed drawing of William Boyd as Hopalong Cassidy by Gertrude Stein – a Pittsburgh-born artist writer who was painted by Warhol in later life." Of what relevance is the fact that Warhol painted Gertrude Stein in the 1980s? There is no evidence that Warhol was aware of Stein when he was eleven years old. Professor Wanda M. Corn (Stanford University) has denied that the drawing is by Stein. See Professor Corn statement. Professor Corn co-curated the "Seeing Gertrude Stein" exhibition at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. (14 October 2011 - 22 January 2012)

How can the RWA Bristol think that this sketch is by Gertrude Stein?

Re-writing the blurb on the show has given the RWA the chance to publicly name an expert who thinks that the alleged Warhol sketch is, in fact, by Warhol. But they have failed to name a single expert in their blurb. Why? Is it irresponsible of the RWA to exhibit a sketch "believed" to be by Warhol when they are unable to publicly name a Warhol expert who believes the work is by Warhol?

Andy Fields' alleged Warhol sketch to be exhibited by the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol
Do you believe that an eleven year old drew this picture?

See article here.

The RWA President asks "Is the Andy Warhol authentic or a hoax?"

[Update: The RWA has posted a new description of the exhibition which has removed some of the earlier claims made about the painting and inserted the word "believed" in regard to the claim that the painting is by Warhol. The original press release for the event can be found here.]

The RWA Bristol have changed their announcement for the Rudy Vallee sketch they are exhibiting in July that they previously alleged was the work of Andy Warhol. They originally claimed that their July exhibition was the "First public exhibition of recently discovered Warhol." Their announcement for the show now reads "Earliest known work believed to be by Andy Warhol to go on show." On 9 June the President of the RWA posted a blog asking "Is the Andy Warhol authentic or a hoax?"

See article here

More information:

1. Statement from Andy Warhol's brother, Paul Warhola

2. Gertrude Stein expert confirms that alleged Stein sketch is not by Gertrude Stein

3. Statement from Warhol expert denying that the Rudy Vallee sketch is by Andy Warhol

4. Questions for the RWA Bristol

5. Rudy Vallee sketch to be exhibited at the Royal West of England Academy as an authentic Warhol

6. $3 jumble sale sketch is £1.3 million Warhol - or is it?

7. The President of the RWA asks if Andy Warhol sketch is "authentic or a hoax"

8. ITV Bristol (Scroll down for video of broadcast)

9. Atlantic Wire

10. Art Info

11. BBC Magazine

R.I.P. Susan Tyrrell

Susan Tyrrell, who starred in Andy Warhol's Bad has died. In 2000, she was diagnosed with the rare bone marrow disease, thrombocythemia, and had to have both her legs amputated. She continued to act, however, and most recently appeared in Kid Thing. (Andy Warhol's Bad was co-written by George Abagnalo and Pat Hackett and directed by Andy Warhol's boyfriend, Jed Johnson.)

In addition to Bad, she also appeared John Waters' Cry-Baby and was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in John Huston's Fat City.

The Warholstars page on Andy Warhol's Bad is here.

Warholia at the Kortrijk library in Belgium

Diederik Vandenbilcke's collection of Warhol ephemera is on display at the Warholia exhibition at the public library in Kortrijk from 1 June - 21 June 2012. The exhibition includes posters, street bannners, books, catalogues, gadgets, magazines, Warhol-related newspaper and magazine clippings and a display case filled with Campbell's Soup items.

The library is located at Leiestraat 30, 8500 Kortrijk, Belgium. Tel. 056 27 75 00.

Questions for the RWA Bristol

In July, The Royal West of England Academy in Bristol plans on showing a sketch they allege is of Rudy Vallee by Andy Warhol. They describe the work on the announcement on their home page as the "Earliest known work by Andy Warhol." Further information about the work is on their page about the exhibition here. [Note: That page has now been removed by the RWA.]

[Updated 13 June 2012: Since this article appeared, the RWA has changed their announcement of the show, inserting the word "believed." They are now saying that it is the earliest known work believed to be by Andy Warhol. Is this an admission on their part that they should not have claimed that it was the "earliest known work by Andy Warhol" in the first place? But "believed" by whom? They have yet to name a Warhol expert who believes the painting is by Warhol. The blurb for the exhibition is now missing from their site although they may be working on a replacement. I have saved pdf copies of their original announcement and their original blurb about the show upon which the following questions are based.]

Following are six questions to the RWA:

1. You write that the Warhol sketch has been "valued at $2 million." How much have you insured the work for and who is the insurer?

2. Who valued the work at $2 million?

3. What is the name of one Warhol expert who says that the work is by Andy Warhol?

4. The owner of the work claims to have found it behind a sketch by Gertrude Stein. Do you believe that the Stein sketch is, in fact, by Stein?

5. You claim that "Edith Smith" was "Warhol's former carer." Given that there is no "Edith Smith" mentioned in any biographies or writings about the artist and that the family has denied knowing an Edith Smith, what evidence do you have that Edith Smith was Warhol's former carer?

6. You describe the background as having been coloured "with green and orange felt-tip pen." The felt tip pen was invented in 1962. The sketch is attributed to 1938/39. How can a sketch attributed to 1938/39 have been done in a medium that wasn't invented until 1962? (See here)


1. Statement from Andy Warhol's brother, Paul Warhola

2. Gertrude Stein expert confirms that alleged Stein sketch is not by Gertrude Stein

3. Questions for the RWA Bristol

4. Rudy Vallee sketch to be exhibited at the Royal West of England as an authentic Warhol

5. $3 jumble sale sketch is £1.3 million Warhol - or is it?

External Links

1. ITV Bristol (Scroll down for video of broadcast)

2. Atlantic Wire

3. Art Info

4. BBC Magazine

Deborah Kass retrospective at The Warhol

A mid-career retrospective of the work of Deborarah Kass will run at The Warhol museum in Pittsburgh from 27 October to 7 January 2013. Warhol aficionados will most likely be familiar with Kass because of her series, The Warhol Project, in which she did her own versions of Warhol-inspired works using herself or celebrities as subjects. One of her Double Yentl paintings (requested for the exhibition) which features Barbara Streisand as the subject was recently sold for $62,500 at a Christie's sale on 7 May 2012 (considerably more than its $10,00 - $15,000 estimate).

The retrospective, "Deborah Kass: Before and Happily Ever After, a Mid-Career Retrospective at The Warhol," is being curated by Eric Shiner and will include about 75 works - including drawings, paintings and sculpture. Kass will also have work in the "Regarding Warhol: Fifty Artists, Fifty Years" show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York which runs from September 2012 to January 2013. Kass is with the Paul Kasmin Gallery whose roster also includes Robert Indiana who appeared in Andy Warhol's 1964 film, Eat.

The Factory updated

I've updated the Factory section of page four of Warholstars condensed at: here and in Andy Warhol's Factory in the chronology section.

Harold Stevenson and Andy Warhol in Norman

"The Cult of Personality: Andy Warhol, Harold Stevenson and Portraiture" runs from 8 June to 16 September 2012 at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma.

Harold Stevenson is well-known for his huge 39 foot painting The New Adam (based on an image of Sal Mineo) at the Guggenheim. He was also in a Kiss film by Warhol, had a small role in Andy Warhol's Heat, and also appeared in '60s footage shot by Factoryite Danny Williams. Wiliams' footage of Stevenson was found among sixteen short films by Williams that were discovered by Callie Angell while she was writing the first volume of the film catalogue raisonné. (Williams is the subject of Esther Robinson's excellent film, A Walk Into the Sea: Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory).

The exhibition includes Polaroids by Andy Warhol - a gift from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts - and selections from Stevenson's The Great Society series of paintings.

An interview with Stevenson, who lives in Idabel, Oklahoma can be found here.

"Wicked Warhol" in Hull

The Ferens Art Gallery in Hull will be hosting an event for children under 16 on 23 June 2012 in conjunction with their Artist Rooms Andy Warhol exhibition which runs until 13 January 2013. The children's event, "Time Troopers: Wicked Warhol," will give youngsters the chance to create their own works of art.

Other events include talks by assistant curator Claire Longrigg, a do-it-yourself portrait workshop and a design your own packaging workshop.

Update on the garage sale Warhol

I have updated the article on the alleged Andy Warhol sketch claimed to have been acquired by a Brit, Andy Fields, at a garage sale in Las Vegas. The updated article can be found here.

Catherine Johnson's Thank You Andy Warhol to be published in October

Catherine Johnson's book Thank You Andy Warhol will be published in October. The book consists of interviews with Warhol scholars, friends and a super-fan who explain what Andy Warhol means to them - both from a personal view and in terms of his artistic legacy. The website for the book is not yet up, but will be at: ThankYouAndyWarhol.net. (Above image is graffitti art by X - and not the cover of the book which is yet to be decided.)

James Warhola and Thomas Kiedrowski to speak at MOCA on 8 June

Andy Warhol's nephew, James Warhola and Thomas Kiedrowski will be speaking at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia on 8 June 2012 in conjunction with the Andy Warhol: Portraits exhibition currently at the museum. The event will be interpreted by sign language interpreter Mindy Brown. There will also be a free Family Fest with James Warhola on 9 June at the museum.

A number of children's events are also scheduled in conjunction with the exhibition, including Warhol art camp classes.

James Warhola won the 2004 International Reading Association Children's Book Award for his account of the time he spent with his Uncle - Uncle Andy's - and is also the author of Uncle Andy's Cats.

Thomas Kiedrowkski is the author of Andy Warhol’s New York City and is well-known in Manhattan for his prodigious knowledge of the artist's work and life.

Message from Paul Warhola

Andy Warhol's brother, Paul Warhola, has issued the following statement denying that the Rudy Vallee sketch (see below) is by Warhol. Paul grew up with Andy and is familiar with his childhood work.

The Royal West of England Academy is showing the sketch as " the first public showing of Andy Warhol’s ‘Rudy Vallee’ portrait" in July - despite the fact that they have not named a single Warhol expert who thinks that the painting is authentic. The trustees of the RWA are: Dr. Norman Biddle, Professor Paul Gough, Robert Barnett, Paul Wilson, Simon Baker, Jennifer Bryant-Pearson, Elisabeth Boscawen, Ned Cusson, Janette Kerr, Rachel Nee, and Lucy Willis.

Below is Mr. Warhola's statement:

May 24, 2012

Paul Warhola Pittsburgh, PA

Re: Andy Fields Artwork

Last year in October, 2011, Mr. Andy Fields contacted us - the Warhol Family in regards to a drawing that he felt was done by my brother, Andy Warhol.

We clearly stated to him at the time that it most definitely was NOT done by Warhol as far as we were concerned. It had NO characteristics of his drawing style whatsoever and the signature was vastly unlike his real signature. It doesn’t even come close to being like Warhol’s early work. Also, Mr. Fields supplied us with several names that he felt may connect this drawing with the family. None of the names were familiar to the family. Therefore there is NO connection to Andy Warhol or Warhol’s family whatsoever.

In addition, I understand that the Warhol Authentication Board has also stated similarly that it was ‘not by the hand of Warhol.’

Rather than accepting this reality, Mr. Fields continues to promote this art as an original piece of art done by Andy Warhol. He does this without mentioning the fact that the Warhol family or the Warhol Foundation has denied its authenticity. This information should be relevant to anyone showing this art and labeling it an original Warhol. It should neither be shown as an original Andy Warhol nor be promoted as such. It not only deceives the public but it also damages the reputation of an important historical artist.

Paul Warhola

Warhol author, Patrick Smith, supports the Warhola family's claim that the alleged Warhol sketch of Rudy Vallee is not by Andy Warhol

Patrick Smith, the author of Warhol: Conversations about the Artist and Andy Warhol's Art and Films has also denied that the alleged childhood sketch by Warhol of Rudy Vallee is by Warhol. The sketch is due to be exhibited at the RWA in Bristol in July, with the RWA claiming on their website that the work is a "recently discovered Andy Warhol."

Smith's books are considered the 'bibles' of Warhol research. They are cited extensively in the Warhol Foundation's catalogue raisonné, Warhol biographies and scholarly books about the artist.

Patrick Smith:

"I have been studying the work of Andy Warhol since 1978 when I started my dissertation on him, leading to my two books about his art and films. For many years now, I have been using the archives of the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh for a third book, based on my findings there. During all of this time, I have never seen any early drawing by Warhol that even remotely looks like the supposed "Warhol" sketch of Vallee, nor have I ever seen an early authentic signature that even remotely appears like the one on the sketch. I fully support Paul Warhola, who should know more than any living person today, that the Vallee sketch is NOT by his brother. I hope that this obvious FAKE be withdrawn soon from public view and that it never be exhibited as being by Warhol."

Author of "Andy Warhol's New York City" supports the Warhola family's claim that the alleged Warhol sketch of Rudy Vallee is not by Warhol

Thomas Kiedrowski, the author of Andy Warhol's New York City: Four Walks, Uptown to Downtown, has denied that the alleged childhood sketch of Rudy Vallee is by Warhol. The RWA in Bristol plans on showing the sketch in an exhibition in July, despite the protestations of the Warhola family and despite the fact that a Gertrude Stein expert has confirmed that the Stein sketch it was reportedly found behind, is not by Stein (see below). The RWA is billing the event as "A World First: Earliest known work by Andy Warhol to be shown at the RWA in July."

Despite claiming that the work is the "earliest known work by Andy Warhol," the RWA has so far failed to produce a single Warhol expert who says that the work is authentic. Although the exhibition is billed as a family event, the one family that the RWA seems to be forgetting is the Warhola family. Many of the families at the event will probably be familiar with James Warhola's childrens' books on the artist. Both James Warhola and Warhol's brother Paul Warhola have denied that the work is by Warhol.

Thomas Kiedrowski:

"I stand by the Warhola family that Andy Fields' found drawing is not an Andy Warhol original but someone's idea to cash in on Warhol's enormous fame. No one from the family or Warhol Foundation has stepped forward to confirm that this is authentic, quite the opposite. Despite a number of well-made Warhol forgeries that have circulated over the last few years, the Field's find is an easy one to spot, his story and the Warhol signature is far from authentic."

Gertrude Stein expert confirms that alleged Stein sketch is not by Gertrude Stein

In July, The Royal West of England Academy in Bristol is showing a sketch that they are billing as "the first public showing of Andy Warhol’s ‘Rudy Vallee’ portrait" - despite the fact that they have not produced a single Warhol expert who has said the painting is authentic. The planned exhibition of the work is causing considerable distress to the Warhola family who have denied that it is authentic (see letter below from Paul Warhola).

According to the owner of the work, Andy Fields, he found the alleged 'Warhol' sketch behind a sketch by Gertrude Stein he purchased at a garage sale in Las Vegas. Now, a Gertrude Stein expert, Wanda Corn - Professor Emerita (Stanford University) - has confirmed that the Stein sketch is not by Stein either. In an email dated 26 May 2012, Professor Corn states about the alleged work by Stein, "She NEVER made drawings or any other kind of visual art and the signature is not hers. Nor was she interested in popular films." Ms. Corn is the author of Seeing Gertrude Stein, the exhibition catalogue for the Stein exhibition of the same name that was at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington from October 14, 2011 through January 22, 2012.

Left: The alleged drawing by Gertrude Stein behind which the alleged Warhol drawing was found
Right: The signature on the alleged Stein drawing

Rudi Vallée sketch to be exhibited at the Royal West of England Academy as an authentic Warhol (Despite having been deemed "not the work of Andy Warhol" by its owner)

The Academy's announcement for the exhibition of the Rudy Vallée sketch

In July 2012, The Royal West of England Academy will be exhibiting the sketch of Rudy Vallée that was recently reported in the news as being an early work by Andy Warhol. The owner, Andy Fields, claims that he found the sketch hidden behind one of five Gertrude Stein sketches he had purchased at a garage sale in Las Vegas. Details of the exhibition can be found on the Academy's website here. Their blurb on the show begins "Avon and Somerset Police and The Royal West of England Academy (RWA) in Bristol are delighted to announce the first public showing of Andy Warhol’s ‘Rudy Vallee’ portrait." They also quote the Chief Constable as saying "I am delighted that the Rudy Vallée portrait will make its public debut within our Clean Slate exhibition."

The work is described on the RWA website as having been done when Warhol was eleven years old "and is full of the pop art motifs we have now come to recognise, including Warhol’s signature bright red lips, made using lipstick, and a typically pop art blocked background, coloured with green and orange felt-tip pen." But how can the background be felt-tip pen when felt-tip pen wasn't invented until 1962? Fields claims to have bought the work from someone who knew Andy Warhol's "carer" or "aunt" - Edith Smith. Warhol's brother Paul who grew up with Andy, denies that there was anyone named Edith Smith who took care of them as kids.

to read the rest of this article, go here

Chain is published

Ronald Tavel's novel, Chain, has finally been published posthumously. As most readers of this site will know, Tavel wrote many of Warhol's early film 'scenarios' and founded the Play-House of the Ridiculous in New York. After leaving the Factory he moved to Thailand where this book is based. He had been trying to get the book published for some time - after "10 1/2 years of rewrites" as he put it in 2007, so the publication now is particularly exciting even though he's no longer around to enjoy the fruits of his labour.

The book can be ordered through the publisher's website here.

Ronald Tavel links in Warholstars:

Ronald Tavel

Ronald Tavel and Andy Warhol's Factory

Conquest of the Ridiculous: Ronald Tavel, John Vaccaro and Charles Ludlam

Brand X at the Tate Modern in London

Wynn Chamberlain's '60s film classic, Brand X, will have its UK premiere on 20 June at the Tate Modern in London. The film features appearances by Taylor Mead, Tally Brown (who also appeared in Andy Warhol's Camp and Batman/Dracula), Frank Cavestani (who also appeared in Women in Revolt), Ultra Violet, Sally Kirkland, Candy Darling, Abbie Hoffman and Sam Shepard.

The screening will be followed by a discussion with Wynn Chamberlain and Stuart Cromer.

Wynn is known to Warhol fans as one of the people on Warhol's infamous drive to California in 1963, described in Popism. Warhol shot early footage with a 1929 Bolex movie camera owned by the father of Chamberlain's future wife, Sally Stokes. (See: Warholstars Condensed... Sort of.)

Wynn Chamberlain:

"Brand X, conceived and born between 1968 and early 1970, uses simplistic television programming of that era as a frame to expose and ridicule the politics and taboos of the day... When viewing Brand X now, 40 years later, it is important to recall that six months before production of this picture began, Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy had both been murdered, Richard Nixon had just been sworn in as President of the United States, and two weeks before Brand X opened in New York, at a University in Ohio, the National Guard over a period of 13 seconds fired 67 rounds of ammunition into an unarmed group of students protesting the U.S. invasion of Cambodia. Four students were killed, nine were permanently paralyzed and many injured... 1968-69 was a very dangerous period in the history of American culture. So terrible that Lil Picard the well-known European journalist and exiled survivor of the German disaster of the 1930's writing in inter/VIEW magazine compared it to the last days of the Weimar Republic in Germany immediately before Hitler and his gang took power and she recalled a poem written by the famous dramatist Berthold Brecht in 1932 whose first line reads, 'Really we are Living in Disastrous Times.' Picard, writing about Brand X in 1970, went on to predict that it could well be this film (Brand X) would in time become like a Brechtian Truth Comedy, a prophetic metaphor for many of the things we would soon be experiencing in American life.

And so it was. Just as the freedom of the Weimar Republic in Germany brought on the repressions of the Nazi party, so the desire for justice and freedom in the United States nurtured the Woodstock Festival, the antics of The Chicago Seven, the Black Panthers and countless other revolutionary groups which inevitably gave way to a new recidivist movement that began with Nixon, was expanded by his successor, Gerald Ford and his guru Ayn Rand and her disciple Alan Greenspan; soon glamorised by the Hollywood President, Ronald Reagan, who signaled it was okay to be Greedy and carried to unprecedented levels with attacks on the Constitution of the United States and other Public Institutions by George W Bush - from which that country may never recover."

A New York Times article about last year's premiere in New York can be found at here.

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