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November 2012
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Another Paul Morrissey interview

Another Paul Morrissey interview has appeared on the net. (A previous interview is mentioned below.) This time, in addition to making his usual claims regarding authorship of films that are often attributed to Warhol, Morrissey seems to go out of his way to insult the person interviewing him. When the interviewer, Sam Weisberg, refers to "some of the Warhol films" he saw as "collaborations," Morrissey interrupts him with "Why are they Warhol films, you stupid son of a bitch?! Why are they HIS films! Why do you call them Warhol films?!" He later explains "Don't say 'Warhol films' when you talk about my films! Are you so stupid, you talk to people like that? I have to live through this for fifty years. Everything I did, it's Warhol this, or he did them with me. Forget it. He was incompetent, anorexic, illiterate, autistic, Asperger's — he never did a thing in his entire life. " When asked about the confessional nature of Trash, Flesh and Heat, Morrissey accuses Weisberg of "talking like one of these acting class dopes." Weisberg takes it in his stride, noting at the beginning of his article that "Morrissey was — and is — an unapologetic conservative and devout Catholic: he hated hippies, the sexually liberated, drug users, rock music enthusiasts..."

The full interview can be read on the Bright Lights Film Journal website at: here.

Thank you Andy Warhol

Catherine Johnson's book, Thank you Andy Warhol, is now available in both the U.K. and the U.S. Johnson's book consists of interviews with various people who knew or worked with Andy Warhol or were influenced by him, and goes far beyond just 'thanking' him. It begins with new information about the artist's background provided by his early friends, Elaine Finsilver and Beezy Mitler. Finsilver lived with Warhol during the 1950s at 74 West 103rd Street. She recalls Warhol's early years in New York and meeting him again later during a performance by "Nico and the Velvet Underground on St. Mark's Place."

Elaine Finsilver:

Years later, I wanted my husband to meet Andy, so we went to a performance of Nico and the Velvet Underground on St. Mark's Place. Everyone was drinking and smoking grass. It was a 'happy' crowd. The band was on a platform with split screens behind the stage. Psychedelic, oozing shapes were projected onto them, including women eating bananas. I saw Roy Lichtenstein, who went to school with my first husband, and we chatted. Roy directed me to where Andy was upstairs. I had heard through Leila [Leila Davies Singeles] that Andy was not as cordial to old friends since he became successful. When I saw Andy, I said, 'Don't tell me you don't remember me because I will be really upset.'

I was relieved when he said 'Little One,' - his nickname for me - 'how could I forget you?' I introduced him to my husband; Andy leaned over and said to me, 'He's beautiful. Is he rich?' Then he took me by the hand; he wanted to introduce me to a friend of his. 'Tennessee, this is Little One.' His life had changed.

Not all the interviewees were so cooperative. After tracking Richard Prince down at a book signing, Johnson explained her project to him and asked how he explained the phenomenon of "all things Andy." Prince responds, "The reason we are still talking about Andy is the same reason we are still talking about Picasso. Because he was a great artist. We have the same birthday and we had the same dentist." When Johnson asks him what his favourite Warhol painting is, he answers "Let me think about it" and when she then goes on to ask him how she can get in touch with him later to find out, he replies "You can't" and refers her to a previous essay he wrote which he says she can print, adding " I don't believe in copyright." So she includes his essay, "Guns and Poses."

Another artist, Peter McGough (of McDermott and McGough) reminds us that "In the 1980s, Andy's art career was at a low point; the younger artists loved him, but his peers were not interested in him or his work. They thought, 'Yuck, Andy Warhol? Please!' I remember hearing from Jane Rosenblum that an art dealer at some art fair was raising hell and yelling, 'I am not having my booth next to a Warhol booth!' Yep, that was how bad it was for Andy at that time in the art world."

Peter McGough:

I had heard that he was unsatisfied and that people thought he was a joke. you could tell he was hurt and upset about the critics and the cruelty he often felt from the art-world press. I remember I once congratulated him for being on the cover of Artforum. He hadn't read the article, and he said, 'Oh, what did they say? I'm too commercial?'

I was also interviewed for the book. What I "thanked" Warhol for was "feeding the hungry." No, I wasn't referring to the hunger of art fans, but rather to the fact that Warhol did, physically, feed the hungry, helping to serve food to the homeless during the holidays at the church he attended in Manhattan.

Warhol's nephew, the Mad magazine illustrator James Warhola who wrote Uncle Andys and Uncle Andy's Cats, is also included and addresses claims about Warhol's "lousy spelling, writing and shyness" which some writers have offered as evidence of dyslexia, despite the fact that there is no medical proof that the artist suffered from the condition.

James Warhola:

People make note of his lousy spelling, writing, and his shyness. it is important to understand that his first language was Rusyn... He didn't speak English until he was five or six years old. My father was the first to speak English well and my grandmother didn't speak English at all. And don't get Rusyn confused with Polish! So Andy didn't speak English until he went to school; and then due to his illnesses he missed a lot of the crucial years in which he would have learned the basics: grammar, spelling, and writing. I think that played into his personality quite a bit.

Of the celebrities that are included, the interviews with Liza Minnelli and Sylvia Miles are the most interesting. Liza's account is interesting not so much because of what she says about Warhol, but because of what she says about Studio 54. She recalls, "Many of those nights at Studio 54, we would walk in the front door and immediately walk right out the back door, and go home to bed! Since we were usually photographed, it gave the illusion that the gang was there all night, every night. But so many nights it would have just been us just passing though on our way to a quiet dinner, or an early night. All of the 'wild times' were so exaggerated."

Sylvia Miles reveals, in her interview, that part of her payment for appearing in Heat was a Marilyn - her "favorite piece of Andy artwork." She continues by saying that Warhol will be "even more famous and relevant a hundred years from now. When I say I miss Andy, I am not a corny person but I can say I really miss him. We had fantastic times, with Scavullo, John Schlesinger, Tennessee and Truman. I had the best time of my life with those people. the most memorable times were with them, absolutely."

The book is full of gems - the table of contents reads like a 'who's who' of Warhol-land.


Bibbe Hansen at the opening of the David McCabe show at the Hudson Opera House with L'Amour star Donna Jordan and David McCabe
(Photos: Sean Carrillo)

A number of interesting exhibtions opened in November including David McCabe's photographs of the Warhol era at the Hudson Opera House on 10 November here. Bibbe Hansen (who recently moved to Hudson from NYC) and L'Amour star Donna Jordan were both at the opening. Bibbe was also included in the "Scarygirl 10 Year Anniversary Show" at Toy Tokyo. Vaginal Davis, who directed Bibbe in the short film, The White to Be Angry, and was a friend of Warhol's scriptwriter - the late great Ron Tavel, is also having a show at Participant Inc.

R.I.P. Steve Paul of The Scene

Steve Paul, who opened the nightclub The Scene in 1964 (at the age of 23), died on Sunday, 21 October 2012. The Scene was a popular hangout for the Warhol crowd and, according to Ronnie Cutrone, the last place the Velvet Underground played as part of the Exploding Plastic Inevitable.

Ronnie Cutrone:

The last time we played as the EPI (without Nico, who had returned to Ibiza) was in May 1967 at Steve Paul's Scene where Tiny Tim used to hang out and Jim Morrison played. Before this people came to watch The EPI dance and play, they were entertained, and got a show. But when we played at the Scene I remember Gerard, Mary and I were dancing and the audience came on stage with us and totally took over... Everybody became part of the EPI. It was a bit sad, because we couldn't keep our glory on stage, but we were happy because what The EPI intended to do had worked - everybody was liberated to be as sick as we were acting! All of a sudden there were no dancers, there was no show; the music had just taken everybody at that point. That was the last time I danced, and I think the last time Mary and Gerard danced. I mean maybe they tried futilely after that, but it didn't work. (UT124)

During an earlier January 1967 performance of the Velvets (see poster above), it wasn't Mary who was dancing with the band, it was Warhol cohort Susan Pile who was still a student at Barnard College at the time:

Susan Pile [from a letter to Ed Walsh]:

Mary [Woronov] wasn’t at the Scene that night, so Gerard asked me to dance along with the multitude of groovers. As the Velvets were taking the stage, I told Gerard it was time for him to captivate, but - no - since he wasn’t being paid for dancing, he wasn’t about to bless them with a dying swan and I must continue to rock out with him.

OK, so we assume the dance floor in preparation for hot bopping when suddenly strobelights flick on, audience hushes - 'Venus in Furs' - and Gerard pulls out the whip.

Yes, flagellation unmitigated, unpredicted, undesired. I was acutely embarrassed and flew into a cab back to school as soon as I found a replacement... (S)

The New York Times obituary for Steve Paul can be found here.

The Facebook page for The Scene, which includes tributes to Steve by Patti D'Arbanville and others, can be found here.

Andy Warhol auction at Christie's to benefit the Andy Warhol Foundation

Christie's auction of more than 500 lots of Andy Warhol paintings, prints and photographs will take place on 12 November. The auction for photographs begins at 10 a.m., paintings and work on paper at 12 p.m and prints at 3 p.m.

Online catalogues for the sale can be viewed at: here.

Interview with Paul Morrissey

Andy Warhol's Dracula

The restored trailer for Andy Warhol's Dracula can be found here

Blogger Hans Morgenstern has published an interview with Paul Morrissey on the Miami New Times site. In the interview Morrissey is asked about the possiblity of streaming Andy Warhol's Frankenstein in 3D and he strangely responds with a verbal attack on President Obama and his wife.

Paul Morrissey:

...Look, streaming is new to me. It's the 21st century. I won't be around for that, thank God, the scum, Comrade Osama Obama and Comrade Ms. Obama and her husband [presidential senior advisor] Valerie Jarrett. The 21st century deserves low-life filth like that: Soviet control. And they're gonna get it, and they'll suffer and deserve it, but the old thing about showing movies in theaters and showing movies only on DVD, that's over.

Morrissey seems particularly bitter about the time he spent working for Warhol, claiming that it was he (Morrissey) who made Warhol's name famous.

Paul Morrissey:

I made his name famous. You think that shit that he did: a dealer sends him a picture and he sends back a silk screen. You think that got good? They sent him more and more of those photographs to be silkscreened because his name was famous because of my movies, OK? He didn't know good or bad. He didn't know who'd be good in front of a camera. He didn't know anything about movies at all. How would he be connected with my movies?

He appears to be unaware of the fact that Warhol's paintings also incorporated hand painting and that silk screening was just one element of his pictures. There are numerous photographs of Warhol applying paint to canvas, just as there are a considerable amount of photographs of Warhol directing and shooting his films.

In addition to working for Warhol, Morrissey also purchased a property in Montauk with him for $225,000 in 1971. After Warhol died Morrissey got the property. According to press reports Morrssey sold it for "nearly $30 million" in 2007. (BBF) It seems particularly strange that Morrissey would be so negative about someone who helped to make him a multi-millionaire.

The full interview can be read here

The Odyssey Theatre presents Untitled Warhol Project in November

The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble's Student Outreach program and the Los Angeles City College Theatre Academy will be presenting a multi-disciplinary show about Andy Warhol for eight performances from November 8th to the 18th at the Odyssey Theatre in West Los Angeles. The production will then be shown again at Los Angeles City College November 29th through December 1st.

Details on press release here.

The Warhol Museum appoints new director of development

The Warhol museum has apointed a new director of development - Kilolo Luckett. Details on the Art Media website here.

Warhol's flowers to be brought back to Tacoma

In the November 2011 news section I reported on Andy Warhol's flower design for the Tacoma Dome in Washington which city officials had rejected. In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the design, Warhol's flowers and "vision for the dome" will be presented as part of an exhibition at the Tacoma Art Museum which opens on 3 November 2012 and runs until 10 February 2013.

Details here.

Marc Jacobs unveils his Edie Sedgwick-inspired Spring 2013 collection at New York Fashion Week

Clothing designer Marc Jacobs presented his Edie Sedgwick-inspired Spring/Summer 2013 collection at New York Fashion Week. Slideshow in the Guardian at: here.

news items are posted throughout the month

to October 2012

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