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Interview with Mark Sink
by Gary Comenas

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14. Did Fred Hughes drink very much?

Yes, I took Fred home many times drunk. There were many events and outbursts that were alcohol related. Many close to him were concerned about his drinking. When he boozed he was always pretty cantankerous even from the start. Once I remember well was at a Betsy Johnson fashion show in an old men’s club that had clay pipes hanging on the ceiling. Everyone was shushing us. 1982, I think? Another time was at the reopening of Studio 54 when we got there late. Andy, me and Chris and Peter went to a porn film before. Fred had a fit when we arrived. There were also a couple of times at the Factory at 860 Broadway. It always seemed to happen after a long vodka filled lunch. I remember one was with Bob [Colacello] about an Interview cover. Another might have been about an advertiser they lost.

A memorable outburst by Fred happened late one night at a tiny club on West 14th Street. I forget the name – maybe it was Anita Sarko’s? She was there. Nell’s. That was it. Anyway, Fred was happy to see me then weirdly turned kind of violent, grabbing and hitting me, wrestling me, screaming something nonsensical. He threw his drink on me – something about my appearing set him off. We were asked to leave. I took him home. A famous princess royal was staying at his place. I forget her name. I have images. She was really worried about him. We talked about how the MS was starting to kick in and affected him with great rage and anger. This was the later 1980s. I have seen him treat his staff horribly when he was getting really sick.

15. When was the last time you saw him?

I crashed the opening of The Warhol museum and the dinner. I was playing photographer shooting tables. I heard this screech – “MARK SINK!” It was Fred waving – shaking both fists in the air from his wheelchair looking pretty bad. We hugged. He pushed plates apart and insisted I sit at his table next to him. That was the last time I saw him. Nobody contacted me about his death or funeral arrangements.

16. Are you still friends with any of the Warhol crowd?

Yes, I am still very close with Chris Makos and Peter Wise. We talk regularly and spend time together – projects and things time to time. We were lovers in the early ‘80s. Chris is an energizer bunny fire cracker – full of fun. And nightmarish on the other side also.

I showed Gerard Malanga’s work at my gallery and we stayed loosely in touch. I did several projects with Gerard through the years. In my studio/ home on 85 Broadway he recreated a Factory scene and silk screen event for an early documentary on Andy by Chuck Workman. It’s the opening segment.

Opening segment from Chuck Workman’s documentary,
Superstar: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol
(click to play or go here.)

My studio is the scene where they are pulling ink through the screen (not the camera work or burning and cleaning). The cat Rosland is there. Gerard Malanga and an unknown friend with long hair are pulling the ink, making the image. Aritst Robert Hawkins and I lived there. I have that image they screened on mylar hanging in my bedroom now.

I also stayed in touch with and was pretty close to Taylor Mead in the ‘80s and ‘90s, less in the 2000’s. I took a lot of photographs of him. I love Taylor. I spent many evenings walking, talking and feeding wild cats with him around the lower east side in New York. He deeply hates Andy. Recently we’ve lost touch. I hear he has been very ill.

I did several projects with Richard Bernstein up till his demise. I photographed him often at his crazy apartment (the old ballroom at the Hotel Chelsea). Once he took full credit for all the dozens of images I shot with Grace Jones in my studio for NY Magazine. I was so pissed off afterwards when I excitedly opened the magazine and saw that the only photo credit was for him - "photography by Richard Bernstein." He could care less. I don't think I ever talked to him after that.

17. Thanks for answering my questions Mark. Before you go, I’m curious – do you remember taking that picture of Warhol in front of the Calvin Klein poster? The one with his hand on the crotch.

Andy Warhol with Calvin Klein poster
(Photo: Mark Sink)

Yes, I remember stopping at the Calvin Klein poster so he could put his hand on the crouch of the underwear model. I often photographed his hands. I remember his hands holding money, his hands touching rare Navajo blankets or jewelry before purchase. I remember his hands holding his beloved Minox camera or his Big Shot Polaroid camera. Andy loved to hold hands. Holding his hand while walking or in a car are some of the most cherished moments I have of Andy.

[end of interview]

Gary Comenas

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