Published November 30, 2008
14 ARTISTS REFLECT HIS VISION, AND DOZENS OF FRIENDS REMEMBER HIM.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF ANDY?
FRANCESCO CLEMENTE: A mirror with eyes.
PATTI D’ARBANVILLE: I thought he was a perv.
DENNIS HOPPER: I thought he was a terrific artist— everybody had been talking about the return to reality of abstract expressionism. And so when Irving Blum showed me a soup-can painting in Los Angeles and a cartoon by Roy Lichtenstein, I started jumping up and down, saying “That’s it! that’s it!” And he said, “That’s what?” And I said, “That’s a return to reality.” And he said, “Really? What are you doing tomorrow?” I said, “Nothing.” He said, “let’s go to New York.” and that’s what led up to meeting Andy and meeting Roy and [Claes] Oldenburg, Jasper Johns and so on. Henry Geldzahler introduced us to all the pop artists.
NICK RHODES (Duran Duran): Meeting people you admire is a dangerous sport, and, more often than not, you end up wounded. with Andy, this was simply not the case. Arriving at the Factory was like walking on a movie set: paintings everywhere, Brigid Berlin and Fred Hughes and an army of helpers. but Andy was as curious to meet the band as we were to meet him. He was shy but sharp, witty, and full of nervous energy.
PALOMA PICASSO: That he was as shy as I was and that you shouldn’t touch him. I realize now that it was not that long after the shooting.
BOB COLACELLO: So sweet for someone so famous. That was not my lasting impression.
John Giorno: I took hold of his limp hand, squeezed and held it, and we looked into each other’s eyes. Andy hummed, “Ohhhh!”
ROBERT HEIDE: He was wearing dark glases and a shirt and tie with dungarees well before anyone else thought of that dress-up dress-down shabby-chic combination.
BENJAMIN LIU: Andy had a ghost-like quality. he seemed to be there and not there at the same time.
KENNY SCHARF: My first impression of him was funny, as he tried to get one of his entourage to kiss me.
ULTRA VIOLET: I felt as if I knew him. I felt drawn to him. “Oh, you’re so beautiful,” Warhol said. “you should be on film. Can we do a movie together?” The next day I went to the Factory and I barely saw him against the silvery background of the walls. He was an alien.
BILLY SULLIVAN: I thought, wow, he’s so easy to be around.
SUSAN BLOND: Well, I loved him. The first thing he said to me was, “I love your name. I love your voice. you’re going to be in all our movies.”
BETSEY JOHNSON: A silent, mysterious spirit.
CALVIN KLEIN: We all knew Andy as a downtown club figure, artist, and the owner of Interview. With his white wig, white skin, and owlish glasses, he was certainly different looking. but he was always so nice and actually quite meek in person. My first impression of him was that he was incredibly shy.
DEBBIE HARRY : I met Andy originally in the late ’60s. I served him dinner in the back room at Max’s Kansas City. I was still a teenager, and he seemed like no one I had met before— soft-spoken but not shy. Then we met again in the mid-’70s, when Chris Stein and I were walking on Broadway below Union Square. He just said, “hi” and we did too. He really had a very musical voice.
TOM CASHIN : His love for his dog! Ordering Archie a steak at the Hôtel de Crillon! For a guy like me from Brooklyn, that was over-the-top. But, as time went on, I had plenty of steaks, thanks to Andy.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM ANDY?
IRVING BLUM: The importance of going forward and keeping your focus.
CHRIS STEIN: To relax. That might sound odd, but I always thought that he somehow managed to let things roll off him. and he could be invisible and a celebrity simultaneously.
DIANE VON FURSTENBERG: I think what we all learned from Andy was how he saw our time and how brands became iconography. I believe he saw and understood our period before anyone else!
SUSAN BLOND: After I left work at Interview and started at United Artists Records, Andy introduced me as the head of the company. So I always introduce people in the way they’d like to be seen. No one corrects me and says, “actually, I’m just an employee.”
JILL SELSMAN: Always listen, even if it seems like you’re not listening, because there are some pretty good ideas out there from the most unlikely sources.
PALOMA PICASSO: Not to worry if people like you for the wrong reason. just use that energy to build on it.
SYLVIA MILES: I realized from Andy that all the parties and all the going out was strictly for business. Practically every job I ever got was from going out.
NICK RHODES: To surround yourself with inspirational people.
ROBERT HAWKINS: Graciousness and humility equal beauty. How to paint the “Kinetic Cliché” brushstroke. (Swooshy S-shapes)
JOHN WATERS: To always have a sense of humor and to never brag and to make sure to praise what everyone else hates.
ROBERT DUPONT: It’s not nice to break up with a boyfriend by leaving a note….
DEBBIE HARRY: To be a good listener.
FRANCESCO CLEMENTE: That painting is alive. The notion of masterpiece is dead.
BOB COLACELLO: How to social climb and call it work.
STEPHEN SHORE: I watched him make aesthetic decisions. It was my first real exposure to aesthetic thinking. I also appreciated his sense of detached enjoyment of American culture.
BEBE BUELL: That presentation is key. He was magical in his delivery.
WALTER STEDING: To have faith.
JANN WENNER: I learned from him how important commerciality was and I also learned what “popular” meant.
BETSEY JOHNSON: He totally inspired me color-wise, pop-wise, quirky-wise, and I tried to do in clothes what he did in art.
PATTI D’ARBANVILLE: To sit back and watch.
VIVA: I learned that I really need a pack of assistants to get my upcoming exhibition ready.
BRYAN FERRY: Always smile at the camera.
TAYLOR MEAD: Don’t talk too much!
GERARD MALANGA: “A throw of the dice never will abolish chance,” to quote Mallarmé. and just to see where it goes. If I had a chance to do it all over, I’d do it the same.
SHELLY FREMONT: I learned to tell my critics that they were right. I saw Andy do that once to someone who came up to him yelling in his face, telling him he was a phony and a bad artist. he looked straight into that person’s face and said, “You’re right.” It was brilliant. the person couldn’t argue. it took the wind out of their sails!
CORNELIA GUEST: To be interested in everyone and everything.
KENNY SCHARF: I learned a lot from Andy about how to be an artist in this modern world. I think I’m still learning from him.
RONNIE CUTRONE: 1) That art is a job like everything else. 2) That romantic love is all illusion. 3) That it’s really hard to be famous and that everybody famous must deserve it even if I can’t see it. 4) Don’t waste time defining art (you can’t), just do it. 5) That there are no bosses— we all serve art if we’re good enough to get the job of making it.
RICHARD DUPONT: How to deal with women. I made some great friends from Andy, and that’s what I’m really grateful for, friends like Brigid.WHAT DID ANDY LEARN FROM YOU?
WALTER STEDING: That you can correct colors even after they’ve dried.
BENJAMIN LIU: Not all Asians are like Yoko Ono.
IVAN KARP: That he need not employ Abstract Expressionist conventions in his paintings, such as dripping, and to pursue the emblematic only.
JOHN WILCOCK: I once said to him, fresh from an argument with my then-wife, Amber: “Andy, somebody should make a movie with three screens showing simultaneously: his story; her story; and the analyst’s tale.” Split screens were not unheard of, but Chelsea Girls was filmed after that comment and not before. Over the years I have noticed echoes of other things I said. Andy was like all true poets— bad poets imitate, good poets steal. He incorporated ideas from everywhere and everyone.
BOB COLACELLO: English.
KENNY SCHARF: how important his touch was on the canvas—that I wanted to see HIS handwork.
Irving Blum: The importance of going forward and keeping your focus.
Vincent Fremont: That he could trust me and that I would always be there for him.
Francesco Clemente: From my generation, that it was okay to trace by hand again.John Waters: Maybe Bad?
Billy Sullivan: Nothing, except the embellished details of my life.
Robert Dupont: The recipe for Martha Stewart’s choc chip cookies that I had from when I worked for her. he loved them.
Nick Rhodes: What was happening in London. Andy liked to consume as much information as possible as quickly as possible. He came to our recording studio, to rehearsals, to the MTV studios, to anywhere he was invited and occasionally places he wasn’t. but he was always welcome and thrilled to be part of whatever was going on, even if it was just ordering takeaway. Somehow, Andy managed to extract the essence from any situation, and, for me, that was one of his remarkable talents.
Ultra Violet: I taught him how to hold his fork and knife and how to speak with a mouthful.
Jay Johnson: I think that my relationship with my brother, which was so strong and loving, and my relationship with Tom showed Andy how it was possible to be more emotionally involved with others.
Tom Cashin: He realized how much I loved Jay, And that a relationship isn’t only about sharing the good times.
Taylor Mead: React!
Cornelia Guest: Horses. He loved coming to horse shows to watch me ride and he would always ask the most interesting questions.
Chris Stein: About knives.
Anton Perich: I think that he learned from me about night-life photography and cable TV. I did both years before he did.
John Reinhold: Andy learned about diamonds and jewelry from me. He also learned how I was able to live simultaneously in different worlds.
Ivy Nicholson: He learned that a woman could love him. He once told me that he loved me more than his male friends because I was more masculine than them.
Jann Wenner: I guess he learned interview from me. When he put it out, he said it was a tribute to Rolling Stone.
WHAT’S YOUR MOST VIVID MENTAL IMAGE OF ANDY?
Farrah Fawcett: What I remember most about Andy is that he was the only person I had ever met who seemed even more shy than I am around strangers.
Betsey Johnson: I REMEMBER HIM IN THE PARAPHERNALIA STORE. HE WAS WEARING A CHROME TEE AND BLACK JEANS WITH MY SILVER, WIDE, EYELETED AND GROMMETED BELT.
Tony Shafrazi: I always thought of him as a cross between James Dean and The Silver Surfer.
Anton Perich: Andy had an uninterrupted smile-a permanent smile on his face.
Diane Von Furstenberg: He was never alone. he was always surrounded by a group. at the time it was Fred Hughes, Candy Darling, Jane Worth (who became my first model). Andy was a voyeur. He did not communicate much, but made people pose and act in front of him. He always had a tape recorder or a camera on hand.
Nick Rhodes: At his happiest, at a dinner table at Mr. Chow or the Odeon or Il Cantinori, surrounded by friends, or multitasking at the Factory.
Dennis Hopper: Well, probably through the years, it’s the photograph that I took of him, with the Iris flower that sort of splits his face. That was taken at a lunch we were at with Barbara Rose who was married to Frank Stella at the time.
Patti D’arbanville: Crocheting on the couch in Karl Lagerfeld’s amazing apartment in Paris between setups during the filming of L’Amour .
Cornelia Guest: OH, my!! That was when we were staying on a boat up in Newport [Rhode Island]. The captain woke me up at about 4 a.m. and told me we needed to leave the port and go out and ride the storm at sea. I said fine and went back to sleep. About an hour later, Andy came into my room white as a ghost and asked where we were going. I said, “out to sea to ride out a hurricane!!!” He replied, “Oh, I can’t swim!” I turned whiter than him!
Shelly Fremont: The way he laughed. It wasn’t a big laugh or loud. it was more of a twinkle in his eye with a smile, and his hand would come up and cover his mouth.
Chris Stein: in 1965, i went to a concert rally at Carnegie Hall entitled “Sing-In for Peace.” these were the folk days, pre-electric. I recall Donovan playing a set, and Joan Baez causing a stir when she announced that she was “going to sing a rock ‘n’ roll song . . .” the song was “Stop! In The Name Of Love,” a reference, of course, to the war. . . . At the end of the concert as people were all leaving and milling about in the lobby. suddenly there was a flurry of activity. the crowd parted like the red sea, and there was Andy accompanied by a statuesque model type. he was wearing a brown leather bomber jacket and was in his standard early look-silver hair and small shades. the girl he was with was wearing a football jersey and tight pants . . . to say he stood out from the crowd is such an understatement. in retrospect he could have easily fit into any of the decades that followed. he and his “date” might have looked exactly like that on some evening in the distant future as they entered Studio 54 . . . This was the first time I had seen him in person. very memorable to say the least.
BENJAMIN Liu: Trying to trim the sides of his hair A.K.A. wig.
Bob Colacello: Opening his mail. he would hold each envelope as close to his eye as possible and examine it as if it were a rare manuscript or something.
Ultra Violet: The first time I saw him lose his wig, I was unable to pull my eyes away when I saw a metallic metal snap embedded in the front part of his skull.
John Waters: Too thin. Too wigged. Off the Clairol Color Chart. Speedy in the best sense of the word. A bigger star than anyone in his cast.
Bryan Ferry: Andy’s physical presence was remarkable and was beautifully balanced by his cool and detached conversational style.
Ivan Karp: Buoyant, modestly effusive, personable, and alert.
DID ANDY SAY ANYTHING THAT STUCK WITH YOU?
Walter Steding: “You’re not the one who decides what’s good.”
Stephen Shore: Once, while we were shooting Chelsea Girls, we were sharing a taxi uptown at night and he said, “My films are so boring.” He said that maybe if he showed two screens at once, they would be less boring. I then asked him why he didn’t edit. He said, “I don’t know how.”
Gerard Malanga: While we were screening a canvas, Andy remarked, “how can we make it so it’s as believable as mine?” When I’d voiced my objection, his response was, “gee, will I get into trouble?” A couple of years later his karma caught up when a photographer sued him for infringement of copyright on her flower photos, which he’d casually lifted from a seed catalog. Maybe that’s when he started thinking: “Time to make my own pictures.”
Chris Stein: “Oh, really?”
Billy Sullivan: “Gosh, Gee, Really, Oh, then what happened?”
Bob Colacello: “If I let myself have feelings, I’d commit suicide.”
Ivan Karp: “Oh, Ivan. What should I collect?” and “Oh, Ivan. What should I paint next?”
Viva: “Viva, your mind is a gold mine.”
Robert Dupont : That all press is good. When they don’t write about you, it’s bad.
Betsey Johnson: “Oh Betsey, how different you look from last time.” Maybe it was the pink hair.
Dennis Hopper: All he really said was, “Oh, oh, oh.” He said a lot of ohs. He didn’t speak a lot, Andy.
Irving Blum: “Why do you think Dennis Hopper didn’t buy that painting?”
Nick Rhodes: “If you don’t go, you won’t know.” He could easily become more enthusiastic about going to a dull event than a grand affair and it usually paid off.
Benjamin Liu: When his mom passed, he told people she went shopping at Bloomingdale’s.
John Giorno: On May 31, 1963, on a hot railroad platform in Old Lyme, Connecticut, waiting for the train to New York, Andy said to me, “Do you want to be a movie star?” The second great line was when he was about to begin shooting Sleep in my apartment on East 74th Street. I was naked and getting into bed. And Andy said, “Mr. Giorno, are you ready for your close-up?”
Tom Cashin: He told me I was special.
John Waters: “You should make that exact movie again exactly the same way.” [After seeing Pink Flamingos]
John Reinhold: One evening we were walking on upper Fifth Avenue and he suddenly turned to me and said, “You’re here one minute and gone the next.” That night John Lennon was shot a block from my apartment.
Anton Perich: “Oh, she is so gorgeous, take her picture!”
James Rosenquist: One time on Madison Avenue, he walked up to me and said, “Oh, you’re the best artist.” I thought it was a put-on. I said, “No, Andy, you’re the best artist.” Then he would say, “No, you’re the best artist.” Other artists would accept this, but with Andy and me it was a lot of fun.
Patti D’arbanville: “Pretty will get you pretty far.” He was right.
Robert Heide: “Mickey Mouse is my favorite actor. Minnie Mouse is my favorite actress.”
Kenny Scharf: He told me not to get married-to get a maid instead. I thought that was funny.
Susan Blond: When I was miserable about some boyfriend crisis, he would say, “work real hard, get real famous, and then you can have anyone you like.”
Bryan Ferry: “You were fabulous.”
Vincent Fremont: “If you are not having fun with the work you are doing, then don’t do it.”
TELL US SOMETHING MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT ANDY
Ivy Nicholson: We were threatened by one of his boyfriends, Rod la Rod. Andy took my hand and led me to the backseat of his car. He was on L.S.D. We soul kissed for one hour and a half. 100 percent love.
Richard Dupont: He was a very generous person. I didn’t have any money when I was a kid. I would be at Studio 54, and Andy would be leaving and he’d say, “Oh here,” and would give me a $50 or a $100 bill. that was a lot back in 1977.
Chuck Close: Andy seemed to be part of that cliché, “What you see is what you get.” But he was actually more than what people expected. I think he was earnest and serious.
John Wilcock: He was a kind, gentle soul who, in my experience never harmed anyone. I’ve heard the complaints that he “exploited” people, but, as someone wisely remarked, “Andy exploited -everybody to their own advantage.” Another quote I really liked was, “Andy never does the same thing once.”
John Giorno: Naked, Andy had a beautiful body-an alabaster-white, hairless, boy’s body. soft skin. smooth, firm muscles, and a nice-size dick (not small) when hard. only the Andy head on top didn’t think it was beautiful.
Irving Blum: He allowed me to exhibit the 32 soup cans in Los Angeles-his first show-because I told him that movie stars came into the gallery. That was a lie.
Taylor Mead: He had a big gray penis!
Ultra Violet: One time, alone on the fire escape at the Factory, I grabbed him and said, “let’s make love.” He got stiff and cold as he resisted me. He let out a loud moan as he wriggled out of my embrace. I thought he was afraid of heights, but I realized he was afraid of me.
Tom Cashin: In some ways, he was a devout Catholic.
Kenny Scharf: Andy was so supportive of other artists and was very generous with his time and energy.
John Waters: Is there one detail of his life that hasn’t been written about or exploited? I mean they even sell Valerie Solanas shopping bags at The Warhol Museum gift shop in Pittsburgh! Think of that: Marketing your assassin’s image! Just amazing.
Francesco Clemente: He was lonely.
Robert Hawkins: Andy loved them more than they knew.
Stephen Shore: One day, when he came into the Factory, he asked me if I had happened to watch a certain movie that was on Channel 2 late the previous night. It was a terrible 1930s tearjerker starring Priscilla Lane. I said that, in fact, I had. He asked me to tell him the story, because he said he had started to watch it but had begun to cry and cried himself to sleep. He added that when he woke up, the TV was off. His mother had looked in, saw Andy sleeping with the TV on, and turned it off.
Ivan Karp: I never heard him demean another artist’s work.
Viva: He basically had no opinions.
Shelly Fremont: Most people don’t understand or believe how hard he worked. He painted every day-Saturday and Sunday, too. Everything was work for him. He was always working on getting ads for Interview or trying to get commissions for portraits. He was always worried about bringing home the bacon.
Dennis Hopper: I’m not sure that he was gay.
Chris Stein: That all the name-dropping in his writing was to reassure himself of his status, that he was as insecure as the rest of us.
Nick Rhodes: He sometimes liked to carry a fistful of loose diamonds in his inside jacket pocket. He was excited by the fact that nobody knew they were there.
Tama Janowitz: Andy always liked to try different perfumes and to get the latest perfumes. he would mix different perfumes to create his own scent. He liked “beautiful” by Estée Lauder. I don’t know what happened with all the bottles of perfume Andy must have had stored.
Susan Blond: He returned phone calls. Andy might buy a painting with a woman with her eyes crossed. He liked the mistakes in things.DID ANDY CHANGE THE WORLD? IF SO, HOW?
Elizabeth Taylor: Andy saw the world through different-colored glasses, ones that we will never imagine. He was fortunate but tortured. torture of his kind seems to plague all great artists because of their vision. They see deeper, they think deeper, and they translate their ideas from the mundane to the realistic. Not that there will ever be anything realistic about Andy’s vision. It will never be conceived as mundane or realistic-only poetic, and visionary, and mind-blowing.
Daniela Morera: He was an incredible manipulator, enormously influential in young people’s minds and lifestyles.
Anton Perich: Yes, he Warholized everything.
Bryan Ferry: He was the prime mover in opening the doors of the art-world to a much greater public.
Patti D’arbanville: Well, everybody talks about their 15 minutes of fame now, so I think he just may have had something to do with the world being obsessed with celebs. And, of course, art.
Paloma Picasso: I’m not sure he changed the world, but he certainly figured out where it was going before anybody else.
John Waters: Are you kidding? He finally put drugs and homosexuality together on the screen, where they belonged.
Francesco Clemente: Real artists leave the world alone.
Chris Stein: He changed the relationship between art and commerce, uptown and downtown.
John Giorno: He showed people how to see their minds.
Calvin Klein: I sat for a portrait for the cover of Interview and loved the freshness of what he was doing. He seemed to be the modern-day illustrator for the times. However, none of us had any idea what we were witnessing-an explosion in contemporary art-and that Andy would turn out to be one of the two or three most influential artists of the century, because he was constantly in the background.
Billy Sullivan: Andy’s use of mass-media imagery and commercial-printing techniques has changed the way people look at painting.
Betsey Johnson: He brought art to the masses that the masses enjoyed.
Kenny Scharf: He redefined what it meant to be an artist and opened up all the boundaries that were so in place at the time. He made it okay to exist in the world outside the art world-the world at large.
Walter Steding: No, he let it happen.
Bob Colacello: Not as much as Ronald Reagan, but quite a bit. He identified the 20th- century cult of fame and promoted it. in the process he legitimized photography, pornography, and television as art. I’m not sure if this was good or bad.
Shelly Fremont: Things are not the same now as they were before Andy changed the way we see. The obvious example is that we don’t even see a soup can in the same way anymore. But he also changed the way we see celebrity and movies. He really did start reality TV by turning a camera on and walking away, letting people just talk.