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August 2012
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Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston launches campaign to bring Rob Pruitt's statue of Andy Warhol to Houston

The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH) is trying to raise funds through indiegogo to bring Rob Pruitt's Andy Warhol statue to Houston. The statue was shown in New York at 17th and Broadway last year. (See The Andy Warhol statue is unveiled in New York.)

Competition - test your Warhol knowledge


Singer/songwriter Billie Ray Martin has donated two autographed copies of her Warhol-inspired DVD to Warholstars for a competition. Each winner will receive an autographed copy of the DVD in gatefold packaging. The DVD contains five different films with five different versions of her new track, On Borrowed Time which will be released 10 September.

I will send the autographed DVDs to the first two people who answer the following questions - the answers for which can be found on this site (use the search box above). Send your answers to garycom.now@gmail.com. (Don't worry - your details will not be put on any mailing lists and will not be given to anyone else.)

These are the questions:

1. Who owned the property in New York that Jean-Michel Basquiat moved into in 1983? (It was the same property that Basquiat overdosed and died in, in 1988.)

2. When did Andy Warhol do Che Guevara silkscreens?

3. What was the name of the pharmaceutical 'speed' that Andy Warhol gave to Ondine when Warhol was recording him for A: A Novel?

4. According to Mark Lancaster, who was behind the camera at the beginning of Ronna Page's scene with Ondine in The Chelsea Girls?

Aspen at the Whitechapel

The Whitechapel Gallery in London will be hosting the "first major exhibition dedicated to Aspen, the influential 1960s magazine" from 13 September 2012 to March 2013. It will include the Pop Art issue edited/designed by Andy Warhol and David Dalton.

The website for the Whitechapel is here.

The press release can be found here.

Do-it-yourself screen test at The Warhol

Beginning on Tuesday, 14 August 2012, you will be able to film your own Andy Warhol-style screen test on the sixth floor of The Warhol museum in Pittsburgh. Visitors to the museum can create their own screen test using a computer touch screen, a moveable backdrop, a modified vintage camera and studio lights. The finished result will be able to be shared by the user on social networking sites like Facebook. And there is no charge for the creation of the screen test. It's included in the price of admission to The Warhol.

Also on the website for The Warhol are apps for creating your own Pop images on your iphone/ipad; for turning your smartphone into "an augmented-reality viewer," and an app enabling you to use your iphone/android device/ipad to explore the museum's collection.

R.I.P. John McHale Jr.

John McHale Jr. during his student days at the University of Toronto where he was doing his MA in History & Philosophy of Science and Technology

News of John McHale Jr.'s death in March has just reached me. He died on 17 March 2012 of a heart attack in Sicily where he and his wife were celebrating their 37th wedding anniversary. McHale was the son of John McHale - one of the founders of the Independent Group. I interviewed McHale Jr. in 2006 in regard to the activities of his father and his father's role in producing the Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? poster for the seminal "This is Tomorrow" exhibition. The interview can be found here.

R.I.P. John.

Robert Patrick to lecture on the Caffe Cino in Los Angeles

Playwright Robert Patrick will be giving a lecture on the Caffe Cino at Vash Boddle's Genesis theater (aka the Front Porch theater) at 5818 Harold Way in Los Angeles on August 1,2,8 and 9. Robert was the doorman at the Cino and appeared in numerous productions there - including A Christmas Carol which also featured Ondine in the cast and was filmed by Warhol - see A Christmas Carol.

More about the Cino at: here.

"Thank you Andy Warhol" at the Benrimon Contemporary gallery in New York

Glitterati Incorporated and Benrimon Contemporary have announced that there will be an exhibition in conjunction with the publication of Catherine Johnson's book, Thank you Andy Warhol. Johnson will curate the show which will feature work by some of the people who contributed to the book, including Billy Name, Anthony Haden-Guest, Blake Boyd, Bob Colacello, Brigid Berlin, Christophe Von Hohenberg, David Gamble, Gretchen Berg, Jerry Schatzberg, Jonas Mekas, Marcia Resnick, Richard Prince, Roberta Bayley, Roxanne Lowit, Ryan McGinness, Vik Muniz, Taylor Mead & Trey Speegle. The book is due to be published in October and the exhibition will run from from October 4th - 20th. The website for Benrimon Contemporary is at: here.

R.I.P. Nelson Lyon

Nelson Lyon died on Tuesday 24 July 2012 of liver cancer that had been diagnosed six weeks earlier. He was 73 years old. Lyon, a writer for the U.S. television show, Saturday Night Live, was a friend of Warhol - he is mentioned in the Andy Warhol Diaries twenty times and was working at one time with Paul Morrissey on a sequel to Trash.

Andy Warhol (10 May 1979):

"Paul Morrissey's out in California. He wants to do Trash II where Holly's an entertainer and Joe's living in the Bronx, still shooting up, and their son is selling drugs in High School. Nelson Lyon's in town, he said he gave Paul the idea." (AWD222)

A few days later Warhol noted that Lyon was writing the film with Paul:

Andy Warhol (13 May 1979):

"Nelson called from Tarrytown where he's working on the trailer for Apocalypse Now. And Bobby De Niro says he might be able to get money for Trash II. Nelson's writing it with Paul." (AWD222)

Lyon also wrote and directed a film in 1971, The Telephone Book, which featured some of of Warhol's stars - the stripper Geri Miller, Ondine (narrator), and Ultra Violet. He participated in a panel discussion in conjunction with a screening of the film on 5 November 2009 at the American Cinematheque - see above.

Lyon is also known as the person who testified about his time with John Belushi when Belushi died of an overdose. On 29 March 1983, Warhol noted, "He's going to be a key witness in the Belushi death trial - he was with Belushi and De Niro the night Belushi O.D.'d." (AWD493) According to Lyon's New York Times obituary, "Mr. Lyon’s account of Mr. Belushi’s final days came to light after he testified about the case before a grand jury in 1983 in exchange for immunity from prosecution. According to his testimony, during the last 24 hours of Mr. Belushi’s life both Mr. Lyon and Mr. Belushi were injected with drugs a half-dozen times by Cathy Evelyn Smith, a Canadian drug dealer then living in Southern California... Ms. Smith said publicly that she had injected him [Belushi] with the mixture of heroin and cocaine that caused his death."

Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo fame was also a friend of Lyon. The NY Times obituary notes that "Mr. Lyon was married several times. He is survived by his wife, Jill, whom he married about a month ago, and by two daughters from prior marriages, one of whom he met for the first time about two weeks ago, Mr. Mothersbaugh said. After Mr. Belushi’s death, Mr. Lyon found work producing movie trailers. Most recently, though, Mr. Mothersbaugh said, he was dependent on the largess of his friends."

R.I.P. Nelson Lyon.

Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick on Merv Griffin

"Reelin' in the Years Productions" have put a clip on You Tube from the Merv Griffin Show show with Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick - originally broadcast on 6 October 1965. You can find it here.

Warhol/Mauro at Halcyon

The Halcyon Gallery on New Bond Street in London is hosting an exhibition of work by Andy Warhol with the work of Mauro Perucchetti until 15 September 2012. The Warhol pieces are a Silver Liz and a "Double Elvis."

According to the gallery's press release, the Warhol works are being "presented to the public for the first time." Perucchetti's work is the launch of a "brand new Iconic Slab series" incorporating "his recognisable icons - a Jelly Baby, a heart-shaped grenade, an AK47" cast in colourful resin panels.

The exhibition continues until 15 September 2012.

Light Years

In last month's news section, I posted an announcement about Light Years - the anthology by Carol Bergé that traces the poetry scene of the early 60s that took place at three coffee houses in New York - the Tenth Street Cofeehouse, Les Deux Mégots and Le Metro. The publication of the book was coordinated by Berge's assistant James Beach. Beach has written an essay about his time with Bergé which I have added to warholstars here. In addition to his work on Light Years, Beach has an online project which can be found here. He can be reached via that website.

Light Years is not a book of poetry. It is an anthology of writings about the coffeehouse poetry scene by people who were there. Two of the cafés - the Tenth Street Coffeehouse and Les Deux Mégots were co-owned by Mickey Ruskin who would later run Max's Kansas City. (The name "Les Deux Mégots" was a play on words referring to the Parisian cafe Les Deux Maggots which was popular with the French existentialists. A Mégot is a cigarette butt.) Mickey Ruskin is mentioned in many of the accounts given in Light Years. An essay by Neil Holstein about Ruskin's life is included which mentions his later bars, the Ninth Circle and Max's, in addition to the Tenth Street Coffeehouse and Les Deux Mégots.

Light Years also includes an essay by the Andy Warhol's scriptwriter, the late Ronald Tavel, who describes how he met Warhol at Le Metro. Warhol was initially interested in his voice for a movie he was planning, Harlot, rather than his writing ability.

Ronald Tavel (from Light Years, pp. 551-52):

"It was after the days when I lived in Africa that I first visited a poetry café. It was Christmas of '63 and I remember the night and where and how and why. I'd gone to see my kid brother, Harv, at the apartment of Ronald Kutny, a one-bedroom railroad he'd inherited from me, fifth floor front and right at 27 St. Mark's Place, a few doors up from W.H. Auden... Joel [Markman] suggested that I keep myself busy, that I distract myself, by reading some of my poems at a coffeehouse downstairs instead of up here in this claustropad... That was Café Le Metro around the corner on 2nd and it would lead in no time to readings at The Deux Mégots...

Then one November evening in '64 while reading, Andy Warhol appeared with a small entourage, in search of voices he would need now as he shifted from the making of silent to sound films. Gerard Malanga, at that time the artist's right-hand man, had asked him to fall by at my reading. Andy listened to me with patience and when I was finished sent the proverbial embossed card to my table asking me to join him at his. When I made my way through the crowd to where he was sitting, he smiled, suddenly shook my hand and, without further ado, popped the time-tested, 'Wanna be in movies?'

Later he explained it was a certain voice-over sound he was looking for, someone to read, preferably the telephone directory, while his 'screenography' of Jean Harlow, to be christened HARLOT, unreeled. He told me that whatever I chose to read or perhaps improvise should not be even indirectly related to what was to be seen, but that my hushed underbreath would function instead as the appropriate accompaniment to the whatever on-screen. It was as an actor of sorts then that I entered underground cinema and not a writer..."

Taylor Mead is also mentioned in the book - as in this account by Susan Sherman:

Susan Sherman (from Light Years, p. 522):

"At the back of the [Deux Mégots] cafe, slouching against the kitchen counter, Taylor Mead, waits nonchalantly for his turn to read. Taylor is one of the openly homosexual poets in the group and manages with his wry sense of humour to be funny and serious in a minimum of words, poling fun indiscriminately at everything and everyone including himself.

'Darling,' he drawls, when his time to read finally comes, 'if you don't dig it, lay down your shovel.' 'I'm bisexual,' he continues. 'I like tall men and short men.' He finishes with a flourish, flashing the half smile that for him replaces a grin. I join the general applause, amused, but also secretly vaguely uneasy, confused as I am at that point about my own sexuality."

And there are quite a few mentions of Warhol, himself. Bergé linked his films to John Cage's works and considered them to be examples of "Zen forms of concentration:"

Carole Bergé (Light Years, p. 27):

"Many of the artists achieved a transmutation of the ordinary into the extraordinary without the need for or recourse to LSD or other drugs intended to free up cognitive processes. Zen forms of concentration were effective consciousness-altering modes. Warhol's works, in particular the films Sleep and Empire State, were, like Cage's works, a challenge of the audience's ability to move into an insightful trance-state where the ordinary would become italicized and haloed... The basic concept of 'Pop' Art, as epitomized by Roy Lichtenstein, Bob Stanley, Rauschenberg and Warhol, was to spotlight the mercantilization of American ordinary life and to cause it be viewed as art in every life, or one could say that the ordinary became seen as art. This basic Zen concept is also the central idea in Timothy Leary's philosophy..."

Thierry de Duve's book on Warhol, Beuys, Klein and Duchamp to be published in October

Thierry de Duve's Sewn in the Sweatshops of Marx: Beuys, Warhol, Klein, Duchamp will be available from mid-October from Amazon, with a paperback edition due in November. Duve is a Belgian art theorist who has written extensively on modern art in addition to curating "Look -100 Years of Contemporary Art" at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels in 2002 and the Belgium Pavilion exhibition at the Venice Biennial in 2003.

New photo book on the Factory due in September

The Factory: Photography and the Warhol Community by Catherine Zuromskis, Ph.D, is due to be published in late September 2012. Zuromskis is an assistant professor of art history at the University of New Mexico. In October 2009 she gave a lecture on Warhol's photography in conjunction with the exhibition "Andy Warhol: Through a Glass Starkly" at Montclair State University in New Jersey.

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