April - May 2016
May 22, 2016: The Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei exhibition will run at The Warhol Museum from June 4, 2016 to August 28, 2016. A special "Free Community Day and Public Opening" will take place on June 3, 2016 - a day before the official opening of the show. Details here.
Tickets are also still available for a discussion with Ai Weiwei and Warhol Museum director Eric Shiner on June 2, 2016 at the Carnegie Museum of Art at 4400 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh. Info here.
Ai Weiwei can be seen above with one of his self-proclaimed heroes, Julian Assange, who has also been featured in one of the artist's installations. Ai Weiwei visited Assange last year in in London. The artist was also one of many signatories on a public letter condemning the actions of the UK after the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention ruled that Assange was being arbitrarily detained. The U.S. government has criticized Assange for leaking (allegedly) sensitive documents on the internet but as far as Ai Weiwei is concerned, Assange is a hero of free speech. The "Letgo Room" installation that featured Assange was exhibited when the show ran in Australia previous to its run in Pittsburgh. (See Artnet here.)
May 19, 2016: There have been two reviews of the "Exposed" night at the Barbican - one in the Independent and one in Art Info. The evening featured fifteen shorts by Warhol put to music by Dean Wareham and others. Given that the Art Info review notes "What shines most of all... are the films themselves," I've never understood why it was necessary to put Warhol's films to music in the first place. Isn't it about time for a proper screening of Warhol's films in the U.K., without trying to popularize them by adding music? Most people reading this site in Europe have never actually seen most of the films discussed on the site.
May 17, 2016: Although not yet listed on the Serpentine's website, an Alex Katz exhibition opens there on June 2nd, 2016. He's given an interview to the Telegraph where he claims that Warhol "ripped me off." Coincidentally, it was a Katz show that Eleanor Ward cancelled which gave Warhol his big break in New York with his first exhibition at the Stable Gallery - see "Eleanor Ward: The Stable Gallery."
The interview with Katz is here.
The host of the memorial announced that she had been blocked by Facebook shortly after the memorial finished
May 16, 2016: I really wasn't going to comment on the memorial for Holly Woodlawn in New York but decided that there should be a record of it on this site for posterity, if nothing else. I was reticent to include it because the cabaret entertainer who hosted the event has been criticized for using Holly's illness to bring attention to herself and her own career, although that's probably a bit strong. She did, however, get into trouble with Facebook after the ceremony. Facebook "blocked" her. Reportedly she was tagging too many people on her posts so that her posts would appear on users' pages even if they didn't want them to appear on their page. Apparently, it's one way that Facebook prevents unauthorised advertising.
The memorial took place on Saturday, May 14, 2016. The large crowds expected did not show up - there were quite a few empty seats and no need to use the overflow space reserved at Howl Arts. Clips of interviews with Holly were shown and then guests got up to pay homage to Holly - in most cases appearing to read from scripts and giving their own "performances" which revealed more about the egos of the story-tellers than about Holly. I was left thinking that if this was the New York underground, it's no wonder that Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey went over ground.
As the event plodded along, Agusto Machado finally introduced Holly's manager, Robert Coddington, in glowing terms. Robert announced that Holly's archive was going to the Fales Library at NYU. At one point Mr. Coddington, who appeared to be holding back tears (although none materialized), noted about Holly's possessions, "Unfortunately, when she died there were some people who took her archives and they either took them for themselves or they just threw them to the trash - that's what the family was told." Off-screen you could hear Penny shouting, "No, it's not true, it's not true so don't say things.." before being interrupted by Robert who gave an email address for Fales so that, if anyone did have anything, they could contact Fales. After he gave the email address, a man off-screen rudely shouted "Is that your email?" And Robert confirmed that no, it was the email address of Fales. The email is: firstname.lastname@example.org. (When the controversy about the fund originally started I was told that one of Holly's close friends in Hollywood had helped their self to some of her dresses - if that is the case, I really do think the best place for them would be in the archive.)
Paul Morrissey's name was on the program and so was Gerard Malanga's, but neither were actually there. A statement from Paul was read out by but it was difficult to ascertain when Paul's statement ended and the reader's opinion began. The Malanga contribution was a poem that had already been published on the "Please Kill Me" website on December 15, 2015. Given that Gerard was never in a film with Holly, it's unusual that he was included at all, but I suppose it was an effort by the host to produce someone to replace Joe Dallesandro. Dallesandro, Holly's co-star from Trash, did not participate in any of the Holly memorials because he believed that the money collected for Holly should have gone to Holly while she was ill in hospital, rather than spent on after-death events (both private and public). As already noted on this site the beneficiary of the money that was collected for Holly on the Go Fund Me site was not Holly, but real estate agent Robert Starr.
The memorial host, Penny Arcade, referred to the Go Fund Me money during the memorial (after changing mics and shouting at the soundman to turn the music down):
Penny Arcade (Holly Woodlawn memorial, NY, May 16, 2016)
I called Constance Cooper when I heard Holly was ill [mic goes dead and is replaced by another one] turn the music down please, Steve, bring the music down because some people can't hear, is anybody up there? Steve? [music stops].. When I called Constance because I had heard that Holly had collapsed [looks at her script] Constance, ah, said to me, she said look she said, "Holly's condition is beyond what any of her friends can be care-takers for" and Constance knew what she was talking about because they had been taking care of Holly over many different illnesses and collapses and we all know the stories and the legends... we all know that fifteen or sixteen years ago the Post printed that Holly had died [not true]... Constance said to me, she said "we need care-takers and that means we need money." And so I created the Go Fund Me for Holly.
According to Penny, Holly chose Robert Starr to handle her money and made Robert Starr her heir and executor. Except nobody has actually seen the paperwork which gave Starr these rights and Holly's usual legal team were not involved in the transaction. Penny also added that Robert Starr was dealing with Holly's archives "as he has dealt with everything else."
In regard to Penny's statement, the expression is care-giver, not "care-taker." And Holly's care-givers were paid for by the State. (I've spoken to one who has confirmed this.) Holly was on SSI. Her medical needs were paid for by the State. The Go Fund Me money did not even provide Holly with a mobile phone while she was in hospital. She should have had access to that money while she was alive.
Penny also managed to take a dig at gay academics saying that "We [meaning her and other unnamed people] are like dinosaurs... people who are not academic gay people, people who are outsider radical queers like us... are disappearing from the planet..." Um, Penny, you're not a lesbian. And you're not even that radical. You cannot claim to represent the “disenfranchised world of queers, junkies, whores, stars, stalkers and geniuses” as you have claimed in the past, because you have never been any of these things. When was the last time you shot up some heroin or turned a trick? And why on earth would you want to be the defender of stalkers?
Now that the New York memorial is over, Holly can now hopefully rest in peace - her work speaks for itself - she will always be remembered for her brilliant performance in Trash, directed by Paul Morrissey and produced by Andy Warhol.
Patrick Smith with Florentijn Hofman's Giant Yellow Rubber Ducky, at The Point, Pittsburgh (Photo: John McDonald)
May 15, 2016: Warhol scholar Patrick S. Smith has died. His two books, Andy Warhol's Art and Films and Warhol: Conversations about the Artist are the bibles of Warhol scholarship. They have been been used as a source for much of what has been written on the artist - including numerous mentions in the catalogue raisonné. I corresponded with him off and on over the years and he was always a great support. (For his contributions to this site, type his name in the search box at the top of this page.)
On May 8, 2016, his sister left the following message on his Facebook page: "Dear One and All, On behalf of my self and my sister-Rita- it is with great sadness that I write to tell you that my brother, Patrick Smith, died earlier this week. The coroner with whom I spoke told me it was "quick..more than likely instantaneous." And, for that I am happy for him. I hope in the near future to be able to write and tell you more. Sincerely, Sandra"
Eric Shiner, the director of the Andy Warhol Museum, paid him tribute: "He will be greatly missed as one of the biggest scholars, fans and promoters of Warhol and the museum. For that I thank him deeply."
Bill Wilson's twins, Kate and Ara, resting in front of Andy Warhol's Do It Yourself (Sailboats) at the Stable Gallery, 1962
May 14, 2016: The Andy Warhol Museum has recently announced the acquisition of Andy Warhol's painting from 1962, Do It Yourself (Sailboats). They acquired the painting by trading de-accessioned works in an arrangement aided by art dealer, Larry Gagosian.
The work has a personal significance for me. It was one of many Warhol paintings that my friend and long-term correspondent William S. Wilson (now deceased) discussed with me. He had photographed his children in front of the painting (above) in 1962, and had sent me some interesting comments about the work and the "soul" in an email dated February 5, 2013:
From Bill's email:
William S. Wilson (February 5, 2013):
...Andy did not paint-by-numbers himself, but he represented an image of a sailboat outlined to be painted by an unskilled technique of following simplistic instructions. Calculations – say the #2 on the image is a code that means the area should be painted “blue” – deplete colors of their unique irreversible expression of feelings, their correlations with emotions. If #2 = blue, then blue = #2, which misregisters blue, and off-registers #2, since a numeral has no color. The abstractions and coded designations obviated expression of "soul,” even of “self,” yet also grievously falsified the image of a sailing boat. A sailboat was not like a paint-by-numbers kit, a sailboat was like a soul, which was not a matter of instructions to paint-by-numbers, yet that level or plane of calculating instructions had to be acknowledged as a component of the realities: Andy knew that he did not live in a world of his own making. A sailboat suggests risks, skill, improvised responses, experiences of winds and tides, hence is a model for how to become a “soul,” when “soul” suggests the precariousness of adventuring within this world which threatens pain, suffering and death-by-water...
The full email can be read here.
May 14, 2016: Only three more days to see Sadie Lee's exhibition of paintings in the U.K. of Holly Woodlawn as she transforms from a he to a she. Details here.
May 12, 2016: "When Jackie Met Ethyl" - the exhibition based around Jackie Curtis (who appeared in Flesh and Women in Revolt) and downtown performance artist Ethyl Eichelberger - continues until June 1st at Howl! Happening on 6 East 1st Street in New York. It is a rare opportunity to see this loving tribute to the two (including their personal effects) and to experience an important aspect of the history of the downtown scene being kept alive through the efforts of people like curator Dan Cameron. Both actors met a tragic end - Jackie died of a heroin overdose on May 15, 1985 and Eichelberger committed suicide on August 12, 1990 after being diagnosed with AIDS at a time when combination therapy (HAART) didn't exist.
New York University sociologist Victor P. Corona was at the opening of the exhibition and has sent in the following account of the show.
Victor P. Corona (NYU sociologist):
"Howl! Happening" currently offers a charming visual remembrance of legendary downtown creators Jackie Curtis and Ethyl Eichelberger. Curated by Dan Cameron, the exhibition is a timely celebration of two pioneers whose cultural impact isn’t sufficiently understood or appreciated.
"When Jackie Met Ethyl" (Photo Victor P. Corona)
I stopped by the packed opening on May 5, immediately spotting playwright Robert Heide, actor John Gilman wearing an original Curtis shirt, and drag historian Joe E. Jeffreys, who contributed to the exhibition catalogue and kindly gave me some background information about a few of the pieces on display. I went back a few days later, needing a quieter moment to really see and make sense of the portraits, collages, posters, flyers, and personal items on display, like Jackie’s sunglasses and her Screen Actors Guild membership card.
Jackie Curtis' Screen Actors Guild card and Slugger Ann's flyer
(Photo: Victor P. Corona)
The show was a perfect context for me to learn more about Eichelberger’s deep contributions to experimental theater and downtown scenes now being eroded by more mainstream and commercial tastes. For a book project I had already researched Jackie’s gender-blurring, avant-garde performances and writing and had interviewed fellow Superstars like Holly Woodlawn, Jane Forth, and Joe Dallesandro. My favorite parts of the show may have been the elegantly subdued Jack Mitchell portrait of Jackie and Candy Darling and the footage of Vain Victory, Jackie’s wildly vibrant rumpus of a play. Sit, watch, and keep an eye out for Agosto Machado, the late and great Mario Montez, and Candy as a mermaid.
As pointed out here, the exhibition’s wall text says that Curtis was part of the “original network” of Warhol Superstars. Although Curtis was one of Warhol’s most unmatched and dynamic collaborators, he entered the scene after the initial group of Superstars who worked and performed at the Silver Factory. But this is a minor point and doesn’t at all diminish the importance of the works on display and Howl’s growing role as a new hub of downtown art and memory.
The show runs until June 1, so there's still time to stop by and attend the many free events planned in honor of Jackie and Ethyl.
The website for the exhibition is here.
May 11, 2016: Auction records were achieved for paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Richard Prince last night at Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art auction, but a Liz (1964), signed and dated by Warhol, failed to sell with an estimate of $10 - $15 million. The record set for Basquiat was $57.3 million for Untitled (1982). Richard Prince's Runaway Nurse (2007) achieved a record $9.7 million.
Results on Christie's website here.
Clive Roller as Amanda Pork (based on Brigid Berlin) surrounded by the Pepsodent Twins (based on Jed and Jay Johnson) in Andy Warhol's Pork
(Photo: Leee Black Childers, 1971)
May 10, 2016: I have added to the site an article about both the New York and London productions of Andy Warhol's Pork which includes the coverage in Penthouse magazine of the London production (featuring Geri Miller and Cherry Vanilla).
Grace Glueck (NYT, May 23, 1971):
... the play [Pork] has just closed a two-week trial run at the La Mama Experimental Theater here and will soon open in London [and] was inspired by some taped raps between Andy and various hands at the Factory... All in all, it's a cozy bunch; take out the fornication, masturbation, defecation and prevarication with which Pork is larded and you might have a certain similarity to the juvenile gang in You're a Good Man Charlie Brown...
The full article is here.
May 9, 2016: The Feigen Gallery will be holding a celebration of the scholarship and legacy of William S. Wilson on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 from 5:30 to 7:00 p. at Richard L. Feigen & Co., 34 East 69th Street, between Park and Madison in New York.
The video gallery at Hollywoodlawn.com
May 1, 2016: Holly Woodlawn's original website has been lovingly revamped in memory of the superstar by the person who was originally in charge of the site (and who looked after Holly's affairs when I first got in touch with them in 2002) - the actor, Brian Hamilton. (Hamilton appeared in Days of Our Lives, Cafe American, Time Squad, and various other TV series and commercials.)
Holly's site is now a tribute to the deceased star of Trash and Women in Revolt (both films directed by Paul Morrissey) and includes a large amount of video links and a gallery of photographs. You can visit the site here.
The new San Francisco Museum of Modern art (Photo
© Henrik Kam)
April 30, 2016: The newly renovated Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco is now the largest museum of modern art - even surpassing MoMA in New York - according to an article in yesterday's Guardian.
In another article in the Guardian the building has been described as a "gigantic meringue with a hint of Ikea." According to Composite World, the museum is "the largest architectural use of fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) in a U.S. building project." Consisting of more than 700 plastic panels, it is "the first time a composite system has passed the rigorous fire-regulation testing that permits its use above the fourth story on a high-rise exterior in the US." (Let's just hope that this experiment in high-rise plastic paneling is able to withstand the strong San Franciscan winds.)
The museum opens on May 14, 2016 and will include numerous Warhols in addition to rooms devoted to other modern art heavyweights - including, as described by the Guardian, the "deepest" collection anywhere of the paintings of Gerhard Richter.
Prior to the opening, "The Modern Ball 2016" (sold out) will take place on May 12, 2016. The Ball's events include a dinner, auction and "Post-Modern Party."
The biography of Andy Warhol on the museum's website defines "Warhol's Factory" as "a term for both his studio and the associated network of actors, musicians, druggies, and hangers-on."
Two Youth Prom supporters posing in front of one of the DISRUPTION backdrops
April 29, 2016: The Andy Warhol Museum, with assistance from its community collaborator THRIVE, will be hosting Pittsburgh’s annual LGBTQ+ Youth Prom: DISRUPTION on Saturday, June 4, 2016 at 7 PM. The event is open to LGBTQ+ youth and allies ages 13–20 years old. Sponsored by The Keith Haring Foundation and American Eagle Outfitters, Inc.
William S. Wilson in Cakewalk
April 25, 2016: Robert Heide, the author of the Caffe Cino play, The Bed, has posted on You Tube a sort of road trip through New York featuring lots of memories of the 60s and the people who aren't here anymore - including the infamous Hoop of Hoopmobile fame (whatever happened to his art collection?) and William S. Wilson. Includes a trip to the Feigen Gallery for a Ray Johnson exhibition in about 2001.
Cakewalk can be viewed on You Tube here.
April 24, 2016: The Dandy Warhols - who feature Warhol star Joe Dallesandro in their latest video - begin their European tour on May 5, 2016 in Amsterdam before going on to Belgium, France and finally the UK. If you are thinking of going to any of the gigs I wouldn't leave it too long. The Paris performance is already sold out and there are only "hangout" tickets left for London.
The tour dates are here.
The video starring Joe Dallesandro is here.
And while we're on the subject of Joe Dallesandro, the official shop for Joe Dallesandro merchandise is here.
More about Joe here.
April 21, 2016: Supreme T-shirts and hoodies featuring Warhol's photograph of Mohammed Ali (in conjunction with the Andy Warhol Foundation) are out today in their shops.
April 20, 2016: Happy Birthday Edie Sedgwick. You would have been 73 years old today.
More on Edie here.
April 16, 2016: Warhol star Bibbe Hansen will be appearing with Lydia Lunch at The Spotty Dog in New York on Sunday, April 17th at 7:00 PM. The Spotty Dog Books & Ale is located at 440 Warren Street, Hudson, NY 12534, Tel: 518-671-6006
April 16, 2016: Elaine Rusinko will be giving a talk on Andy Warhol's Rusyn roots at the Butler Institute of American Art at 1:00 pm. Professor Rusinko is an authority on Warhol's Rusyn upbringing and the history of his parents. She's the author of “We are All Warhol’s Children:” Andy and the Rusyns. I've quoted from her work in the beginning section of the "From Nowhere to Up There" oral history section of this site.
Details on her talk here.
April 15, 2016: The LGBTQ Centre at the University of Northern California - Chapel Hill, has broken ranks with the university system's policy regarding the controversial HB2 bill. Eric Shiner, director of the Andy Warhol Museum, refused to appear at UNC Chapel Hill because of the views of the UNC system's president, Margaret Spellings, who supports the bill. (see story below).
The statement by the LGBTQ Center, states "Let there be no ambiguity, we oppose HB2 and add our voice to those who are calling for its repeal. Our mission is to create a safe, welcoming, and inclusive campus environment for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions... Until this legislation is deemed unconstitutional or is repealed, we want to be a resource and a support for our campus community. One of the questions we have received most frequently is around bathroom use. While we cannot offer legal advice, we want people to know that the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled in 2015 that employees have a right to workplace facilities that are consistent with their gender identity. The Department of Justice has ruled that prohibiting a student from accessing the restrooms that match their gender identity is prohibited sex discrimination under Title IX."
The website for the LGBTQ Center at UNC-Chapel Hill is here.
The university is one of the entities being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina and Equality over their support of HB2. The legal bill of UNC is bound to be considerable. The UNC system's president, Margaret Spellings, supports HB2 but it appears that a large number of students and faculty at the individual campuses of UNC, do not. Why should the students be paying (through their tuition) for a lawsuit fighting the ACLU? Is Ms. Spellings out of touch with the people who are ultimately paying her salary? Is it time for her to resign?
April 14, 2016: Eric Shiner, the Director of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, has joined the ranks of celebrities, companies and public officials who refuse to appear in or do business with the state of North Carolina because of their passage of a bill which discriminates against transgendered people and stipulates that state policy overrides local policies - which would include local policies that guarantee the rights of gay or transgendered people.
Because the president of the University of North Carolina has defended the law, Shiner has rejected an offer to serve there as the "visiting critic." In a letter to the president of the university, Margaret Spellings, Shiner writes, "Dear President Spellings, As the director of The Andy Warhol Museum, one of the largest single artist museums in the world - and more importantly a museum dedicated to a gay artist who celebrated diversity, inclusion and transgendered Superstars in his work and in his films - I write to you today to decline Professor Elin O'Hara Slavick's invitation to act as the visiting critic for your university's graduating MFA class." Professor Slavick supports Mr. Shiner's decision.
The Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act (aka House Bill 2) passed by North Carolina means that transgendered people will have to use the "public facilities" of their birth sex. (They don't even do this in prison where there are often wings for men living as women and vice versa.) As a result of the Act, you could very well see men who identity themselves as females, and who are dressed as females (with female cleavage produced by female hormones), sharing bathrooms with 'Joe average.' Does the university president and the legislators think that 'Joe Average' will be grateful that he will now be required to share bathroom facilities with someone in a dress?
The act attempts to cut off legal redress regarding the Act by specifying "no person may bring any civil action based upon the public policy expressed herein." Not so quick North Carolina. The South is still part of the United States and federal laws governing discrimination take precedence over state laws. A lawsuit has been filed against the "Governor, the Attorney General, and the University" in regard to legality of the bill.
The lawsuit against the bill has been filed by two transgender men, a lesbian, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina and Equality North Carolina. They are seeking to have the law deemed unconstitutional and a violation of federal laws banning sex discrimination.
Esquire magazine is keeping an online list of those who are "boycotting North Carolina for its LGBT discrimination" here. It includes: Ringo Starr, Bryan Adams, Deutsche Bank, PayPal, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Moore, xHamster, Joel McHale, General Electric, the Dow Chemical Company, Pepsi, Hyatt, Hewlett Packard, Choice Hotels International, Whole Foods, Levis Strauss & Co., Lionsgate.
In regard to Paypal, they have dropped plans to build a 3.6 m facility in North Carolina because of the law which would have created more than 400 jobs. In regard to Deutsche Bank, they are now freezing expansion plans in North Carolina. The Chief Executive of Pepsi, has hand-delivered a letter to Governor Pat McCrory asking him to repeal the law. Apple Stores has issued a statement saying they "were disappointed to see Governor McCrory sign this legislation." (Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, is gay.)
In the meantime, if you are considering applying to one of the campuses of the University of North Carolina, you might want to think again. Do you really want to give financial support to a university that discriminates against the LGBT community?
Trash German lobby card
April 12, 2016: I have added to the site an essay on Trash, a film produced (i.e. paid for) by Andy Warhol and directed by Paul Morrissey. What surprised me the most during my research was that it was 35 years before an uncensored copy of the film was available in England and that Holly Woodlawn wasn't taken on the promotional trip to Germany when it was released in that country.
The essay includes references to the New York Times interview with Holly Woodlawn, Bob Colacello's report of the trip to Germany and England (where Warhol and his entourage were received at the House of Commons) and Colacello's Village Voice review of Trash which was probably one of the reasons he was promoted to become the editor of Inter/VIEW, replacing Soren Angenoux. (Also, there's an interesting reference to a film of the group in the Alps made by Will McBride - footage I've never seen.)
The full essay begins here.