Stephen Shore’s shot of Warhol “Superstar” Edie Sedgwick. © Stephen Shore / Courtesy 303 Gallery, New York
What does it take to be world famous? Andy Warhol spent a lifetime working that one out, and he succeeded beyond even his wildest dreams. In the 1960s, Warhol’s studio in midtown Manhattan attracted not only hipsters and hangers-on but also renowned photographers like Richard Avedon, Nat Finkelstein and Cecil Beaton, all prominently feature. Ranging from Polaroid snapshots to large-scale prints, in most of the images from inside the Factory; you’ll see no soup cans or day-glow Marilyns here. Most revealing are candid shots by lesser-known Factory acolytes such as Billy Name and Brigid Berlin, Warhol’s libertine friend who always seems to appear in some state of undress. Stephen Shore, later known for his New Topographics landscape work, contributes down-to-earth portraits of the Velvet Underground’s Lou Reed and John Cale (both wearing sunglasses indoors, of course), of singer Nico in mid-song, and of ingenue Edie Sedgwick looking both charming and fragile.
Rod LaRod, Andy Warhol, Paul Morrissey / Stephen Shore—303 Gallery
(L) Andy Warhol with “Silver Clouds” in the Factory, circa 1965-1967. © Stephen Shore / Courtesy 303 Gallery, New York | (R) Sometime in 1965-1967, Velvet Underground cofounder John Cale plays guitar © Stephen Shore / Courtesy 303 Gallery, New York
The photographs by the snap-happy Warhol, whose fascination with erotica and the breakdown of social mores gave way to an outward-looking focus on street scenes and celebrities after he survived the notorious attempt on his life in 1968. That year, the Factory itself moved uptown and “scene” started to increasingly resemble a corporate empire. Warhol’s later years were documented on film by Jonas Mekas (included in the show) and in photographs by his companion Christopher Makos, who depicts Andy everywhere from Studio 54 to the Great Wall of China, usually with unruly spiked hair and that enigmatic half-smile. In Warhol’s own bizarre films and screen tests actors flocked to his 8mm camera—60s characters like Ultra Violet, Candy Darling, Rotten Rita and Penny Arcade, self-mythologists who evinced Warhol’s observation that “in the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” Warhol (who died in 1987) made that prescient comment in 1968 when the Internet was, at best, a vague concept. It was the analog adventures of Warhol and his Factory denizens that showed the way forward.
Edie Sedgwick and Andy Warhol, by Billy Name.
© The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / ADAGP, Paris 2015
(L) Andy Warhol, front, Ed Hood and Stephen Shore in 1964. Credit: Billy Name/Dagon James, All Rights Reserved / (R) Andy Warhol with The Velvet Underground, Nico’s son Ari Delon, Mary Wronov, and Gerald Malanga, 1966
Article originally published at americanphotomag.com