A 1968 radio interview with Taylor Mead and Tom Hompertz can be found online on the archive.org website. They are mostly interviewed about Lonesome Cowboys although Mead also makes reference to San Diego Surf (see below) as an unfinished movie and Bruce Haines comments on another Warhol film, Bike Boy.
The interview can be downloaded here.
The rare, recently restored, full length version of Andy Warhol's film San Diego Surf will be shown at the Museum of Modern Art on 16 October 2012. (Unfortunately, the screening is not yet listed on MoMA's website.) Paul Morrissey was asked in 1995/6 to edit the unfinished film. More recently, he had this to say about the film:
"Andy Warhol’s movie? He didn’t have anything to do with it, except his terrible camera work, which I even had to take over most of the time. I did everything, everything, everything! Poor Andy couldn’t suggest a thing. He was so helpless. Andy had no idea what he was doing, but I had to give him something to do, so I let him operate the camera. He had no compositional sense or artistic sense of any kind as far as film was concerned. He was making footage. There was a hundred hours of footage there, and it’s unwatchable footage. You call that a movie?"
Morrissey doesn't explain why he would let someone operate a camera who, according to him, had "no compositional sense" and "no idea what he was doing." He criticizes Warhol for making a hundred hours of "unwatchable" footage but that was exactly Warhol's point - to turn on the camera and see what happens (or at least to give that impression). The most interesting parts of Warhol's films are often the most random - when the actors stop following the scenario and do their own thing. Randomness and chance were popular concepts during the '60s. John Cage's theories of 'chance' were still in the air and Warhol's technique of simply turning the camera on and letting it roll could be seen as the visual equivalent of Cage's 4'33" in which a pianist sits silently at the piano while the random sounds of the room become the music. It was the randomness of Warhol's technique that made his films 'art.' Just as he retained the imperfections of the off-registration of the silk screen process in his paintings, he retained the imperfections that resulted from his 'letting the camera roll' technique of filmmaking in his unfinished-looking finished films. The later Warhol-produced films that were directed by Paul Morrissey tended to have a specific narrative, a story line, with clearly delineated characters similar to Hollywood films. They were entertaining but that was not necessarily what Warhol was after with the films he (Warhol) directed. "Always leave them wanting less" is what he reportedly told a journalist in reference to his film audience. (See here.)
San Diego Surf features appearances by Eric Emerson, Joe Dallesandro, Taylor Mead, Viva, Louis Waldon, Ingrid Superstar, Nawana Davis and real-life surfer Tom Hompertz and ends with Taylor Mead apparently being pissed on by Tom Hompertz.
From "San Diego Surf (1968)":
"Tom Hompertz, who was also in Lonesome Cowboys, plays a surfer in San Diego Surf, which is what he was in real life - an art student who surfed. He is described in Popism as "a nice looking blond surfer we’d [Warhol and his entourage] met the previous fall while we were making a lecture appearance in San Diego." (POP259) Lonesome Cowboys and San Diego Surf were the only Warhol films that Hompertz appeared in. According to Michael Ferguson [author of Joe Dallesandro: Warhol Superstar, Underground Film Icon, Actor], Taylor Mead urges Tom to urinate on him in the last reel of Surf, saying 'We middle class people suffer when we watch you surf... can't you just piss on us' and the film cuts to 'a close-up of Mead's grotesquely made-up face as a stream of liquid splashes onto his head and foams from his mouth while he writhes in ecstasy.' Mead then comments, 'I'm a real surfer now.' (JOE68-69)
See also: "The Andy Warhol Museum announces release of Andy Warhol's film San Diego Surf" (Art Daily).
Reverend Howard R. Moody, who was the Pastor of the Judson Memorial Church during it's heydey as the home of the avant-garde during the 1960s, died on Wednesday, 12 September 2012, in Manhattan at the age of 91 of pneumonia and complications from cancer treatment. Moody served as the senior pastor of the church from January 1957. The church was home to the Judson Gallery (started in 1958 by Moody) which hosted Oldenburg and Dine's "Ray Gun" exhibition in 1960 as well as the Judson Dance Theater (featuring performances by Freddy Herko) and the Judson Poets' Theater.
From Playing Underground: A Critical History of the 1960s Off-Off-Broadway Movement by Stephen J. Bottoms:
"Founded in 1892 by Baptist minister Edward Judson, its [the Judson Memorial Church's] initial mission was to be a church that would 'cross the tracks,' by serving both the wealthier families to the north of the Square and the Italian immigrant ghetto to the south... This was a heritage taken very seriously by Dr. Howard Moody, who in 1956 began a pastorate that was to last almost four decades... The Judson Gallery was established in 1958, in the church's basement Ping-Pong room, and in 1959-60, its program was curated by Allan Kaprow - fresh from his success with 18 Happenings in 6 Parts at the Reuben Gallery. Consequently, Judson became an early center for happenings such as Kaprow's The Shrine and Claes Oldenburg's Ray Gun Specs events - which incorporated work by Jim Dine, Al Hansen [father of Warhol star Bibbe Hansen], Dick Higgins, and Robert Whitman. Over the next few years, the church was also to initiate dance and poetry programs." (SB66)
Bianca Jagger was one of the guests at the opening part of the Met's new Warhol exhibition, "Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years." The show features more than forty works by Andy Warhol alongside the work of sixty other artists who have provided their own artistic responses to the artist - including Billy Name, Matthew Barney, Damien Hirst, Gilbert and George, Richard Prince, Wolfgang Tillmans, Deborah Kass, Sarah Lucas and others. Warhol star Ultra Violet was also on hand.
Details about the exhibition here.
The Andy Warhol Foundation has won round one in the lawsuit brought against them by members of The Velvet Underground over the Velvet's claim of copyright to the banana image that graced their first album cover - designed by Andy Warhol. On Friday, 7 September 2012, U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan ruled that the band could not claim the copyright for the image. The case continues, however, as the Velvets pursue a claim to the banana symbol as a trademark.
Mary Woronov in 3D
Warhol star Mary Woronov makes an appearance in Roger Corman's latest film - Attack of the 50 foot Cheerleader - his first 3D film. After leaving Warhol's Factory (after her mother launched a lawsuit against Warhol over The Chelsea Girls), Woronov appeared in numerous Corman films, including her infamous role as Miss Hogar in Rock 'n' Roll High School. A recent interview with Mary can be found on the AV Club's website at: here.
Mary Woronov (from the AV Club interview):
"These days I mostly paint. And write. I’ve written five books, and I’m about to have a painting show at Campbell Hall Gallery. That’s in October. The only thing I’m really doing in front of the camera is… there are these two filmmakers [Francesca Di Amico and Claudia Unger] who’ve formed Minx Films, and they’re doing a documentary about my life [Confessions Of A Cult Queen] because they want to cover from New York, with Warhol and the Theater Of The Ridiculous, and show that I brought that to Corman and the stuff I did there. I think they’re doing a good job, but they’re still working on it. These things take a long time. The first time they met with me, they thought they would just have an interview with me, but no, no, no, they got a stage performance in my bedroom that was all over the map. [Laughs.] Which is the way I work. So they decided, 'This is good, and this is how the movie will be. It’s just performances.' At one point, I reenact one of [Ronald] Tavel’s plays with another guy who used to understand his work. It’s a different kind of movie. It’s really, really different. It’s not your normal 'this is Mary' thing. It’s more 'this is the inside of Mary’s head. Hello!'"
Christie's is going to begin selling off the remaining paintings, drawings and photographs owned by the Andy Warhol Foundation with the sale of 350 items on November 12th. The November auction which will be held in their premises will be followed by a series of online-only sales of lower-priced items, beginning in February 2013.
According to the Wall Street Journal, "Highlights include Three Targets, a 19-foot-long silk-screen showing a trio of bullet-riddled bull's eyes, estimated to sell for at least $1 million. Jackie, a red 1960s screen print and paper collage portrait of Jacqueline Kennedy, has an estimated sales price of at least $200,000. Among the thousands of Polaroid photographs is a late-1970s Self Portrait, in which the artist wears black sunglasses and his signature silver wig. Christie's expects it to fetch at least $15,000."
Alberto Mugrabi, the son of Jose Mugrabi (aka "The Man with 800 Warhols") is quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying "It's ridiculous—they have a great product, and they're pushing it out into the market like cattle." (It is unknown whether any of Warhol's Cow images will be part of the sale.)
Given that the Authentication Board has stopped authenticating art by Warhol, this may the last opportunity for buyers to purchase items directly from the Foundation (via Christie's) which were previously authenticated by the Board.
Joel Wachs (President of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts):
“These sales will provide unprecedented global access to Andy Warhol’s work, in keeping with the artist’s own democratizing philosophy and working methods. The gifts we will make to museums along with the enhanced grant-making made possible by the art sales, when taken together, will underscore Warhol’s legacy and impact on the art world and will provide an even more secure basis to expand that philanthropy in the future.”
Playwright Robert Heide has written an article about the off-Broadway premiere of Sam Shepard's play, Heartless, currently at the Signature Theatre. In the article he mentions running into Shepard at the theatre and talking about the '60s, the death of Freddy Herko and the new play.
From the article:
In those days playwrights, actors, and directors formed a community which came to be known as off-off Broadway; and Sam was central to that... We all gathered at coffee shops to talk about what we were up to. For Sam it was all about the creative process whether in writing, acting, or playing drums with a rock band. Sam spoke of the craziness of it all citing Freddy Herko doing his legendary LSD ballet leap to his death from Johnny Dodd’s 5th floor apartment at 5 Cornelia Street. I mentioned the day it happened I was walking down 4th Street toward 6th Avenue and as I was crossing Cornelia I noticed someone in the middle of the street sweeping up what looked like a combination of blood, and brains. I told Sam and Daniel I was then acting out a ‘super cool’ attitude which I had taken on from hanging out too much at Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory, and seeing this horror, said to myself that ‘this must be someone I know.’ “Yeah! That was Freddy Herko” said Sam, “in the sixties it was definitely not the thing to show too much by way of feelings.”
The full article can be found here.
The winners of last month's competition were Vernon Purnell of Alabama and Ben SantaMaria of Essex. They answered all four questions about Andy Warhol correctly as follows:
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.)
Answer: Andy Warhol.
2. When did Andy Warhol do Che Guevara silkscreens?
Answer: Never. Andy Warhol didn't 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?
Answer: Andy Warhol.
Campbell's Soup is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the 1962 Los Angeles exhibition of Andy Warhol's Soup Cans. It is likely that the cans were started in late 1961, but it was July 1962 when they were first exhibited at the Ferus Gallery.
From the first volume of the Andy Warhol catalogue raisonne:, p. 070:
Precisely when Warhol began the Ferus-type paintings is not known, but it was probably not long after his first attempts with the Mõnchengladbach type in late 1961. The Ferus type comprises sixteen works beyond the group of thirty-two canvases. For the varieties of soup in the group of thirty-two, Warhol referred to a product list supplied by the Campbell Soup Company, checking off each once it had been completed and adding 'Turkey Vegetable,' which had been omitted from the company's list. The only element that distinguishes one canvas or one can from the other is the name of the variety.
With the set of thirty-two canvases, Warhol first realized the possibility of painting in series. Charles Stuckey, however has noted several precedents; the exhibition of Monet's later series paintings in Claude Monet: Seasons and Moments, at MoMA in 1960; Frank Stella's Aluminum paintings, shown at Castelli in the fall of 1960; and Stella's 1961 Benjamin Moore series, of which Warhol commissioned six small-format examples, which can be dated from canceled checks to mid-May 1961, probably after Warhol visited Stella's studio for the first time.
My essay on the origination of Andy Warhol's Soup Cans can be found here.
Andy Warhol and Czechoslovakia
Andy Warhol and Czechoslovakia is a 400 plus page book exploring Andy Warhol's connection to Czechoslovakia (presumably including Ruthenia) which will be published at the end of October. The authors, Rudo Prekop and Michal Cihlár, have assembled a wealth of information - including interviews, never before published photographs, ephemera and reproductions of early artworks in a scrapbook style format. Includes more than 1,200 photographs and documents.
news items are posted throughout the month
to July 2012