Who Shot Andy Warhol?

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Published June 4, 2010

 

PHOTO BY NAT FINKELSTEIN

 

 

Perhaps the real question should be, “Who didn’t shoot Andy Warhol?” The veritable king of Pop Art was the second most photographed artist of the 20th century (Picasso holds at #1).  And on June 5th, curator and art dealer Eric Firestone will open his new East Hampton gallery with “Warhol: From Dylan to Duchamp,” an exhibition of photographs paying homage to the icon. There are, of course, images of Edie Sedgwick, The Velvet Underground and Andy presiding over the creative debauchery of his Factory kingdom, captured by the likes of Annie Leibovitz, Robert Mapplethorpe, and resident Factory photog, the late Nat Finkelstein, just to name a very few. But the ace-in-the-hole is a set of 100 never-before-seen images of Andy shooting his satirical, homoerotic Western film, Lonesome Cowboys (1968), in the Tucson desert.

Discovered almost by accident by the show’s co-curator, photographer and Taschen editor Eric Kroll, the on-set images were taken by Bob Broder who, at the time, was shooting for the Arizona Republic. Only four of the black-and-white photographs went to print and the others–which include a whip-wielding Viva in jodhpurs and fake eyelashes, Eric Emerson wrestling with half nude actors amongst cacti in the desert, and Andy with his eye to the lens, crowned with a cartoonish ten gallon hat–have been collecting dust until now.

“Andy allowed Broder to get right into his face with the camera,” said Firestone when discussing a five part series titled “Eyes of Warhol” (1968), which zooms in tightly on Andy’s expressive peepers. And “Andy on Snack Break” (1968), a photograph of the artist crouched down in thick-heeled shoes, reaching into a bag of Doritos, is almost comically perfect.

But, Firestone stresses, the 200-plus image show is much bigger than just Broder’s Tucson shots. With photographs spanning from the ’60s through the ’80s, the exhibition allows one to quite literally watch Andy’s entire life and career progress: “You see his personality change through the years as you walk through the show and you see how he acts around the camera. We’re also playing two videos [Warhol Out West, a Super-8 piece on the making of Lonesome Cowboys by the late Charles Littler and The Way the West Was Done, a documentary shot by Warhol’s Tucson chauffeur Martin Holt]. I have one in the window of the show and I have the other one on loop…and you see him just laughing and having a good time. How often do you get to see that?”

“WARHOL: FROM DYLAN TO DUCHAMP” IS ON VIEW THROUGH THE SUMMER STARTING JUNE 5TH AT THE ERIC FIRESTONE GALLERY, LOCATED AT 4 NEWTON LANE, EAST HAMPTON, NY.