The Ultra Violet Interview
Uultra Violet in "Andy Warhol's Factory People"
Who are you?
“I was born Isabelle Collin Dufresne; I became Ultra violet in 1963 when I met Andy Warhol………Then I turned totally violet, from my toes to the tip of my hair. And to this day, what’s amazing, I’m aging, but my hair is naturally turning violet. It’s all natural…….maybe it’s a miracle.”
How did you first meet Warhol?
“Prior to going to the factory, I met Warhol trough Salvador Dali. I was having tea with Dali and this woman came in, I thought it was a woman, she had uneven hair and very shy, almost like you had to put a coin in the mouth of that person so she would say something.
Dali said this is Andy Warhol, so I realised then that it must have been a man. And Warhol said, “You are so beautiful, we should do a film.”, and I said when? and where? So he said, he gave me the address and he said, “Tomorrow.”. So the next day I went to the Factory, and I remember I was dressed then in my Channel outfit with a little black velvet bow in my hair.
I had to take this weird elevator, kind of broken down, and I had to operate it myself, which was pretty scary. You could have fit a car in this elevator. I landed on the floor that was the legendary Silver Factory, and I thought at first that they had had a fire because it looked so dilapidated and so odd and so strange. There was an aura of smoke, and I did not see anyone, and I was wondering if Andy Warhol was there. I remember seeing a cat a silver cat, I guess the cat had been sprayed with the silver. Anyway, there were a lot of canvases leaning against the wall to the back, and I said, “Is there anyone here?”, and eventually I head a voice of Warhol saying, yes, and so we met. I was exceedingly intrigued about the space that looked like a gigantic mirror, if you will in an era of the astronauts where everything seemed to be silver, and I was determined to find who this guy was, and if he was real. If he was a man. And I was so attracted, I can’t say “in love”, but so intrigued and attracted, and I thought I should seduce him. At that time, nobody could resist me. There was a fire escape in the Factory, I went there with Andy and I said, “What is the building across…and I grabbed him and he became exceedingly scared, and cold, freezing cold, and I thought he was going to pass out. The only part of his body that had some kind of warmth was the back of his neck which I later on realised was his wig, that kept him warm. He was so frightened that I thought I should let him go back into the loft, so we went in and then his hair was all in disarray and dishevelled and I remember I saw on his forehead some kind of metallic snap, and (thought) this man is not real, and then you saw the snapped toupee go back on. Then we proceeded to talk about art.”
Uultra Violet projected image Photo by Billy Name
As you proceed to talk about art were you intrigued with what was going on, and the people that were there?
“No the first time I was there, I sort of went there as, well apparently to make a movie, but no one was there. I had been collecting actually, so maybe Andy thought that I was a collector.
I saw in the factory, loft, all kinds of canvas with a stretcher turned back to front, so I asked to see that, and it was a flower…painting. It was in a series, and I said I would like to get one of those, which we sort of did together. He said what color, and I said one flower should be violet, and then we did that, he opened a huge gallon of wall painting, then he said what color should the other flower be; and I said of course the complimentary color, which is, I said orange. So we did one violet flower and one orange flower, with a black and white background…which he sold me. Artists never ever give you anything…because it’s their children.”
How much did you pay for the painting?
“I forget if it was $500 or $2000. But you know, nobody wanted his art work at the time. And when you think back of Van Gogh, nobody knew the talent, and his brother was an art dealer. So this is telling you that in the art world they are blind.
That is why he showed me his paintings, and I remember commissioning him, right then, right there, a huge flower painting, but anyway, eventually people did come in, and I was hypnotised by the crowd of raving beauties, funny duck people, of young little boys, and such an array of different people. As the time went on, and the night went on, too many people would just go in and out and in and out. The door was always open, and I think that was the forté of Warhol, that the all world came through that door that was opened. I think that Warhol did take a lot of risks, if I may say so because there were a lot of “crazies” wondering around, people with revolvers that would shoot up in the air, it was loaded, or sometimes shoot trough the canvas, hence the shot Marylyn Monroe. So I think that he was exceedingly brave, or maybe unconscious, or maybe he just wanted so much to be famous that quantity would do it.”
Why do you think Andy wanted to be famous?
“I think that Andy was a genius, even though when you were next to him sometimes you thought that he was a total idiot because of the way he behaved. But being a genius, you really want to put your digital fingerprint on the civilisation which happened to be the American civilisation, and in the 1960’s, America had become the uncontested leader of the world, and I think that Warhol was very aware of it, though he never spoke about it. I think the crowning of the American dream was when the first man walked on the moon, and it was an American. This meant that capitalism was able to deliver the dream and hence all the work that Warhol did in the early 60’s was all based on the American dream of the beauty, the glamour, the prosperity, the dollar sign, the man walking on the moon. Mickey Mouse is part of the American dream, Uncle Sam, fame, the rosy life, the flowery life. I think that was really his forté because there were a lot of other pop artists, but Warhol was utterly unique in that he would put his fingerprint right in the heart of the target.”
Was Andy’s gift partly to bring out the greatness of people? Can you tell me about the technique he used to do that?
Viva and Uultra in "Tub Girls" photo by Billy Name
“Warhol realised early on that he had to create superstars that would be noticed whether they were extraordinarily glamorous or because they were 300 pounds, or whatever it may be. You know a curiosity. When he travelled he had this kind of “menagerie” always with him, and to be famous in the 60’s you certainly had to use the media to the maximum. Television was entering every living room, every house, and movie was certainly where it was done. Warhol understood that very early on and he had such magic that when he was there everyone was electrified and people would go out of their boundaries to do whatever. When Paul Morrissey was shooting and if Warhol was not in the room, everyone was half asleep. The minute Warhol would pass the door it was like Io, Io. Everybody went to places and doing things he knew how to.
He was a black hole in space where everything went through him, he had extraordinary magnetism. One day he was sucking on something and he spit out some kind of a solid, and I asked him what it was and he said, “Oh, I am sucking a magnet to increase my magnetism.”, it certainly worked.”
He had a real tremendous power over people, did he have power over you?
“Well he did have power over everyone. He had some power over me for a while, yes, he was irresistible. I think he was an alien. and Ultraxxx I called him. Though he was born in Pittsburgh, so the legend said, but it was a different date of birth actually; and I am proud to say I am the first person that eventually found the date of his birth. I had to do immense research because I wanted to go to the bottom line of this and the reason is, he was, his mother was, a great eccentric and when he was born she did not declare she had had a boy. When he went to school at the age of maybe 8, she wanted to get a scholarship of sorts and she had to prove she had had a child by the name of Andrew, and so she had to get her aunt to certify that he was born. So that is why his birth certificate was not where it was supposed to be.”
Tell me about the mystery of Andy…?
Andy is a sphinx without a riddle. I think he was a genius. What is a genius? That is the question. It is someone that wants to explore the all universe, be it financially, be it artistically, be it socially, be it invention-wise, be it touching, addressing every possible media which he did. It’s exploring what is the universe and oneself. I think a genius is something extremely rare, that you can count on your finger and that was what Warhol was. But every genius is different.
Dali introduced me to Warhol and Dali was extremely extroverted, Warhol was just about the opposite. He was introverted. For example, we would try so hard to get to television and when we succeeded he was paralysed and couldn’t say a word, so we would have to answer for him. I think that it is an exploration of the universe, and I think that is where the mystery is because normally people are not genius, they are very plane, very boring, very limited, so they have a hard time understanding that someone would do things differently. Andy did everything differently. When you are on TV, you are supposed to talk, talk, talk; and Andy was totally silent. Now that is very intriguing. You want to know what is behind this guy. Warhol said, “ If you want to know all about me, scratch the surface and there I am.”. But there is so much below that surface.
Andy was an iceberg. I think that that is a very good definition because he was ice cold but, you know there is a lot of depth below.
How did he use people, how did he set the collaborations?
I often say that Warhol was a multi-level marketing without pay. This is a great farce, what he promised was fame, stardom and the all world would be ready to get fame or 15 minutes of fame or 40 minutes of fame. So that is what attracted people, and it was actually fun because the 60’s were fun. I think he would lure you, you know the fame idea which he was able again to deliver.
A lot of us got some attention, I guess because of Warhol, and he was vulnerable, he was like a child at times. He was extremely ambiguous because he was a devil and he was an angel.
He was a child, and he was an ancient sage. Anybody could find in Andy a what they were looking for because that genius again is so multidimensional that he was a father to some, a destructor to others, a rapper to others. I think people were subconsciously attracted to him, I don’t think they necessarily rationalised why they were there.
So Andy was not really a user of people, he really taught people how to use themselves?
I think it goes two ways, I think, I mean he used us, but we used him. So then the game is fair, I suppose. He would find people in the street or whatever and he would put them in front of the camera, he did not have to pay them. People were very happy to be in front of the camera and then in the evening you would have the rushers, and we would see ourselves on the camera and we were delighted. He used the whole world. When we would go out to social parties he would say, “Oh we are doing a movie on bathrooms can we come and film your bathroom?”, so then people would be very intrigued and they would say yes so that was one way to enter into the most private part of their house, and to meet the people, who some of the time might have been collectors or financiers or… So weather it was calculated, and that is one way to get to people, or weather it was just naivety was hard to know.
Warhol cinema was about cinema realité, so I think he was more about reality. True some people expected to be paid, but others don’t expect to be paid; and again in the 60’s, there was such a prosperity era that people seemed to afford to blow their heads, afford not to work, afford to have to cars, afford, you know, and I think also the threat of the atomic era, we had entered the atomic era, and it became quite a reality, and I think people felt that they had 15 more minutes to live so lets live it up!
It is interesting, it’s as if the Silver Factory was this bubble of culture, yet it was a foretelling of the future of America and the future culture of the around the world. At the same time, it seems to catch what was going on.
On the culture, can you tell me about that?
The Silver Factory was a macrocosm of a microcosm in reverse. Again, film in the 60’s, every artist had to use film to record, I think Warhol was the best record of the sixties because by having a camera on, he recorded people as they were registering all kind of emotions in the eyelid. I remember when I saw that film for the first time, I did not know if this man was alive or dead but then eventually what they were saying, what they were doing, or not doing or sleeping, just the idea to film someone sleeping for eight hours, which was a “real sleeper” by the way; but very interesting because when you sleep, obviously you think, you are alive, you dream, and in the face you saw the rhythm of the breath.
He forced you to look with a magnifying glass at what was happening in the culture.
What I really like about Warhol is that it was a matter of facts. He did not inject his own persona or, for instance, most of his work…JFK assassination, he just took the photo of when it happened and that was the art work. Marylyn Monroe. He took the photo from the studio that was authentic. So it’s just trying to capture reality, and reality is such an enormous part of existence, it’s actually endless. I think he understood the power of reality, and I don’t think that anyone before has understood that or recorded it in such a methodical way.
But when you think about the 60’s, and you think about all the dramatic things that are happening in America and the world…how the attitudes were changing, it didn’t seem that people in the Silver Factory really cared.
Well the people in the Factory, the women usually, came from upper society, and the men came from the street, now why? I think the woman were runaways, rebelling against their family, the establishment, the catholic religion. Warhol was very happy with the men coming from the street because that is where he was sort of coming from. I think that Warhol’s dream was to became a male Marylyn Monroe. You know, we were young and we were idealistic and we were, we had a lot of ego.
Just to see yourself constantly in the reflection of that silver, at the Factory. The silver wall was like a gigantic mirror and we thought we were the epicentre of the universe for about 50 seconds, so why should we worry about what was going on outside? We were having fun.
What was Andy doing with the Superstar idea?
I think Andy had a great sense of commerce first of all, and we were very surprised when we learned that “Chelsea Girls” had earned half a million dollars. Nobody knew about that. It was in the paper. It was a little revolution, but Warhol realised that those films, even though they might be very boring could probably be marketed, and if you have some gorgeous people in it, it will be very attractive, and people with no inhibition that could undress very easily and all of that is extremely attractive. I remember “Blue Movie”. That was banned, and of course it got in the news. You know, to make it you need provocation, you need scandal, and Warhol was very good at that. You know if you offered anyone to become a Superstar, they would jump on it. Weather it was extremely conscious of Warhol, “Oh I am going to sell them that they will become a superstar and then they will hooked for life.”, I don’t think that was his objective. I remember we did a movie called “Kiss”, and you had to kiss, and kiss, and kiss, and kiss, for 15 minutes and I said to Andy, “Who am I supposed to kiss?”. I was supposed to kiss a young man that wasn’t there, so Andy said, “Anyone!”. I mean there was a dog in the room.
Were people interchangeable for Andy?
People were interchangeable for Warhol, if he could continue with someone for a while that was fine, but I think human material was very accessible. I think Warhol used human people, human material, as he used a brush, paint, a tube of paint. And what is the difference? I mean art wise, you have a movie or a great masterpiece on canvas, and the merit or the interest is the same.
Do you think Andy was responsible for all the things that he did?
Well Andy was extremely clever to surround himself with people with a certain talent.
One of them being Morrissay. Morrissey was actually responsible for a lot of the film. Weather there was film in the camera, it did not matter. People were still acting and behaving in front of the camera, but I think that Warhol really cared because he always seemed to be so exhausted and dying. He would still carry the equipment and have the electrical cord behind him, you know he always seemed to make such effort to make those things happen.
Did Andy want fame from his films?
At first he was very upset that his movies were not getting the Hollywood attention he wanted. What was interesting, is the way he reinvented cinema, meaning first the camera was absolutely still, in black in white and no sound, then eventually the camera moved to the right, or to the left , so he went through all the motions of reinventing what film was all about.
Can you tell me about competition among the Superstars?
I could not say that there was a lot of love between the Superstars. We were not about loving one another. We were about loving ourselves, so there wasn’t really any kind of fights. But again, Warhol was at the centre and because he was there, everybody was multidirectional, aiming at Warhol, so he was the cosmic glue that held people together in some kind of a peaceful situation. I don’t remember any big battles with the Superstars.
So pretty much, the activity of the Silver Factory…everyone was pleasant to everyone else, did they have any major disagreements in the “family”?
Family is a big word, maybe we should replace the word “family” with something else, I don’t know, “the menagerie”, yeah there was some kind of understanding in a way of accepting one another and co-habiting with one another. We were laughing a lot, that you know, binds you together. Someone said that laughter is the shortest distance between two people and I think that might be true.
In your opinion was the competition, was Andy good at manipulating people?
He was good at manipulating people but I mean there was some competition. Sometimes we would go to a party and some people would not know and the next day they were a little bit upset when they learned that there was such and such thing, and then they would show up.
Andy was very good at sort of dividing the activities. I remember when he died, 100 people called me and told me that they were with Andy the day before, and that could not have been because first of all he was in the hospital.
So the Silver Factory was like party central, can you tell me about some of the things that happened?
The parties were great, because, first of all huge crowds and wonderful food and drink and then a mixture of people, galleries, art people, society people, druggers, weirdos, musicians, a lot of famous people. I remember meting there Bob Dylan, Judy Garland. So to see those people from close was extremely exciting, and then the end of the evening seemed to get a little bit out of hand. I mean it was wild at times, and just to watch that wildness, you know I was not used to it prior to that, it was so captivating.
Actually Warhol copied a lot from Dali. Dali had an entourage. Warhol created one also. Warhol used to tell me leave Dali, “He is way to old, come with us!”, so for a while I was half and half one foot on each camp. And then if you want to be famous you have to have a definite look, Dali had a definite look. Warhol had a definite look, you have to be present everywhere. I remember the parties at night we would stay on and on and on, we were the last ones to leave the party, so you know we could collect names and cards and this and that, it was a lot of word of mouth and learning what was happening the next day and then you would roll on from one party to the next, to the next to the next. He had a great sense of how to use, I don’t want to say “use”, but use human material. He knew people are…it’s people that make things happen, not a piece of paper that makes things happen. You have to compose with people and I think that he was a master at that.
How did someone like Andy, who was so detached or seemed so detached, have such a kind of deep interesting relationship with people?
Well Andy seemed to me semi-detached, but he was not at all. Because he was born in the Pittsburgh ghetto of immigrants, and then, when he dies he his worth maybe 800 million dollars? He creates a foundation, he becomes a messengerof the art, what a destiny. And this can not have happened by accident. So when Andy would say, “Oh Gee, I do not know what to do…tell me what to do, help me, help, help, hellp.”. Was it, he was helpless to a degree because as a child he had some sort of nervous breakdown, I mean he had several diseases so emotionally I think he was like a photographic plate. Everything would register on Andy and long ago he decided, “I can’t live that way.”, because it is sheer martyrdom, so he needed to become cold to become a machine and not to be affected by his personal emotions and just to be a doer. He was not a talker, he was a doer.
So did he care about people? I think he cared more about doing, and he did an amazing body of work, and even though he may have had the help of me, and the others, and everyone putting their hands into doing X. You know, the whole system was so very different. If you want to use the machine to make art, why not have other people do it? He needed hands to do the functions, and (even) to do a phone call, he would ask you to make a phone call, almost as if he could not use the pay phone.
Oh yes the building used to be a factory, and it was probably what, 3000 sq feet? He was the first one to have a loft kind a factory, and yeah to call it “The Factory” was very prophetic, for it in essence, it was an assembly line for the canvas, for the painting, for the people, for the film, for the portrait. He was a good child of capitalism. It is all about to mass produce, mass production so you certainly need help for mass production. When he died, he had on payroll something like 55 people which is amazing for an artist because the main body of the work was done outside. Silk-screening was done outside. So in the end he became the General Motors of who’s who in art.
Can you tell me about the films you appeared in?
The first film I did was “Juanita Castro”. We were a group of people 10, 15, and we were just sort of standing there, and the script, the minimal script was about the sister of Fidel Castro called Juanita Castro, and she was sort of screaming and yelling, and what have you. It did not make much sense, you know. You never knew if there was some kind of content to it, or beginning or middle or end. So in my first film I was just a figurant; but then to see yourself on film, the next day was just very exciting for all of us. You realised, oh you looked like this, you have done that, so it’s like self correcting, you know. Someone said earlier that Andy taught you how to be yourself and that is, there is some truth to that actually because putting you on film, you have to become self critical and modify your image or rectify your image so that was amusing. The second film I did was “24 hour Bathroom”, so we were taking a bath and then the novelty was “I a Man” with Tom Baker and Valerie Solanis. That was a very intriguing personage, and there I had a speaking role. I can’t say I am extremely pleased about those movies, they are a record of history I suppose from what happen in ‘68.
Can you tell me about some of the other Superstars?
Well Viva had a great silhouette and a great face. She reminded me of Greta Garbo. She was bitching all the time and complaining all the time, and I never have enough money or wanted this and that. Of all the Superstars, she was probably the most difficult.
And then you had (Nico) The Velvet Underground. That was a sheer beauty that spent hours putting her make up. I was very intrigued about the things she did. You had Bridget Berlin, that was another easy character also claiming she never ate and one day I saw her at a drugstore having a triple ice-cream soda; and so she was very upset that I saw her, so she claimed she gaining weigh just by being in the Factory breathing the air, electric air. Who else was there? Ondine that always loved opera and opera would go full blast in the Factory, and he was an extremely good actor, very scary because on occasion he could just slap you, and be violent, so you had to be a bit careful around him. And who else was there?
What about Edie Sedgwick?
Oh Edie of course. Edie was the star of stars. She was a star falling from heaven and she was like a meteor and she burned up and that is quite a tragic story actually. When they showed her film recently at the Witney and people were sort of laughing in the room, but you know I almost cried, it’s a little bit tragic.
Well I mean, one of Warhol’s idea was to film Edie O.D.-ing. It’s one way to be, but again it’s part of that cinema realité. “You know if she, if she wants to O.D., let her do it, and lets film it!”. But the reason for filming it is not necessarily that is it a lesson for other people? or is it for the shock value? is it for the money value? You know, question marks there. It’s a lot of question marks with Warhol.
So what you are saying is that the Factory had no sense of morality?
Well the Factory people had no sense of morality, or we were amoral; so to see someone being destroyed, creates a certain fascination when you have no sense of morality. Because how can this happen? How could you let it be? And no one tried to help.
She (Edie) was not asking for help also, that is no excuse probably, but there is a fascination in death, actually a lot of Warhol work is about death. Sex and death are two very big wheels and to see someone rushing to death is hypnotic in a way when you have never seen that before, but retrospectively, what a waste and how sad. I mentioned earlier that Warhol reflected the American dream, but what is phenomenal about him is that he also represented the American disasters, dreams and disasters. Now the “Disaster series” is of course the electric chair, the most wanted men, car crash, knife, and so forth. So in a sense, it’s stages of American history, the good and the bad, the Yin and the Yang, and I think that, that is extremely fascinating because I think with people they saw in the early Silver Factory the potential of both.
Q. Your first film etc.
Everyday we were filming at the factory, the crowd that was coming in and out, and one day Andy said…The life of Juanita Castro, she was I believe the sister of Castro, Fidel, and there was quite a group of people, …..and Juanita was screaming and yelling, …..that was the first time I was on film…and the next day on a sheet of fabric we would se the movie and it was so interesting to see what we had done and what we looked like, it was very self-introspection,
…. I think that’s what captivates people about those Warhol movies when we were doing it, that to be on screen is some kind of a revelation, and you can see who you are, because you don’t know who you are. …..
What I love about his movies, it’s really Cinema Realité, opposed to Goddard, that would be Cinema Verité., which is whatever, (snort, laugh)
….I think MARY WORONOV was in the movie…….(delete the poet)
…….MARIE MENKEN, did play Juanita Castro and she was very good, very explicit, you know, no script of course, but she could carry on. I don’t know if they were on drugs, because the thing with Warhol movie, they would carry on, and they stopped when the film ran out. It was all improvisation, which I was not quite used to ……to be yourself.. (Delete Hollywood).
Those Warhol films, though they are real sleepers, the concept was extraordinary. I think it was minimalism in film.
I think Andy realized that we had some kind of value...the women were very beautiful, and he used to tell me, Leave Dali, Dali is too old, ….I eventually left Dali, not because he was old, but because I realized Surrealism was going to end up in an impasse, it was going to end as a fishtail, which it did.
What’s extraordinary about art , I remember when Abstract came on the scene, I thought we were going to do abstract art forever, we had enough of figuratism, lo and behold it lasted, ten, twenty years, then we move on, then pop art comes in,…..today as an artist I rack my brain to find out what shall I be doing because it’s so transient, It’s going to last five minutes. Or fifteen minutes, if I’m lucky.
Q. Do you think Andy was inspired etc.
Andy is the most puzzling person I know because he’s born in the Pittsburgh ghetto and when he dies he’s worth 800 million dollars, so that has not happened by accident I don’t think. But, when you were with him, he was so helpless, “Tell me what to do, what shall we do, help, help, …..can you drive the car, can you make the phone call, can you make the painting…..it was so ambiguous..
Who was he, was he a total genius, saving his energy for a brain storm, and …….delegating to people doing all the work, ……….
if you talked to him, he never had anything to say. He was a doer, not a speaker. ….if you’re next to a genius, they have a dialogue, they have a philosophy, which they can express verbally. With Warhol, oh, ah gee (imitates him) It worked…..
He was extremely subtle in his manipulation. He had extraordinary charisma, magic, he had magic,
….people were drawn to him like a magnet. Zoom! In fact manipulation, One day he was sucking on something, chewing, and I said what do you have in your mouth, and he spit it out, and it was a piece of magnet….and I said what’s that, and he said “It’s a magnet.” I said what for, he said “ I want to be more magnetized.”…where did he get the idea, well some people sleep at night with magnets all over the body…alternative medicine……… .
I think he was extremely clever, thought he didn’t let you know it. …….
Q. but he considered you a muse.
Oh….I had access to a certain level of society, which he did not, and he wanted to climb the ladder, which he did.
He got to the top and got invited to the white House. I think if he had not died so prematurely, he would have run for presidency. He didn’t have a chance, but he would have run. He wanted power, and he got power, over the art, the fashion, the society, the glamour…
.people used to say if there’s a party, and Warhol is not there it’s a failure…….it’s very flat on the surface……very mundane
(delete Mickey Mouse stuff, astrology etc. )……
Q. Getting back to the factory..
I met EDIE at a party……and she was an astonishing beauty, later on in my book I describe it, an angel fallen from heaven, the word glamour was coined for her,, she…..was glamour personified. When I met her she was the Girl of the Year, she had modeled for VOGUE or whatever.. ……
beauty has power, so I think Warhol was drawn to beauty, with women, with men it’s not so essential, ……..and so to be surrounded by all these beauties……..we were quite few, VIVA, INTERNATIONAL VELVET, EDIE……….he had power, surrounded by a court of beauties.
I loved Edie from the beginning, because I could feel she was extrememly sensitive and authentic and fragile, and she did prove to be fragile in her life, extraordinary, meteor, catastrophe……
……… Edie was a precocious puppet, she danced like nobody else, she had million dollar legs, she could dance all night………and everybody would stare at her when she got on the dance floor.
Q. But the drugs
Well, yeah, the drugs eventually, she was a child who never really grew up and.drugs were rampant, and people were very ignorant, and Tim Leary…..would say, You know, you’re only using ten percent of your mind, and thanks to this and that you can expand your mind, and everybody believed him, he was a professor at Harvard …….we were naïve, very naïve about drugs,,….and when I saw Edie, a few months before she died in California, indeed those drugs had expanded, physically, her head and her skull. She became a monster. The whole body was enlarged, but the head was enlarged, where she use to have the finest features ….
Drug is one of the most evil things there is, be aware younger generation, …you can take my word, I’m 120, and I’ve been through it.
Q. Thank you for that…..in all this time you never drank or did drugs
…… I don’t know if it was my background, but I always knew that drugs were dangerous and I did not want any part of it. ……Andy and the whole group…….(delete following her etc)……they were willing to give you drugs, they thought it was okay, …..
…… I did go to this doctor, not the Doctor Feelgood, but another….another criminal, who would give me supposedly b17 or b15 shots, and I didn’t feel good after…and I learned much later that it had amphetamine in it, which is so criminal…..He went to jail….(delete rest) those people should be on the electric chair.
Q. Excuse me. But how can you live in a drug environment…
Well, today, drugs are rampant……..not everybody was on drugs in the 60’s, there was a lot……and in my book I have a chapter, Survivor question mark, and I made a point to trace what happened to all those people, and their minds were burned, like
NICO ……her mind was totally burned. Eventually she died falling from a bicycle, she was,,,..a piece of I don’t know what, flesh…….
There was a lot of drugs in the factory, but that does not mean everybody…they each had their own thing, like Taylor Mead was on qualuude, and still is. I think Warhol wanted to lose weight at one time, and he was given a …..pill of I don’t know what,….. and then he said it worked and he took a bit more and a bit more…….Well Viva probably had a few trips, but the dog was not on drugs, and the cat was not on drugs, and I was not on drugs.
Q. I want to go back to the movies…screen test
One of Andy’s best films I think, are the screen tests. Everybody that came into the factory they would sit in a chair, he said “Be still for 15 minutes, “the famous 15 minutes. And it’s very normal in the 1960s that an artist would do this instead of taking the brush and tube of paint and make a painting of the person, why not use film…..(cough)…and when you stare at someone for 15 minutes, you discover a million things, not the wrinkle, but what they’re thinking, …..you discover who they are, you think, so it registers on your face. I think those things are absolutely extraordinary.
Q: Kiss, I saw a great photograph…
Oh, kiss, who was I kissing
Q. I don’t know but…
Oh, yeah, I have the world’s most famous tongue, the longest tongue, some people have measured it, ….about twelve inches…….but we did do a movie called ‘Kiss’…..and my tongue would go in and out and right and left like those cows…..I did some great photos with kissing EDWARD RUCHA……and it’s just kiss, kiss, kisss……
Q. I’d like to see that…..1967, 25 hour film..
……Warhol was looking for, not so much extraordinary ideas, but things that had never been done, which then I guess becomes extraordinary, so why not do a film for 24 hours?.......it’s a whole cycle.
…………….. the Empire State Building, which is an American icon, why not film it for 18 hours, And people can say it’s very boring, of course it is, but also it is not. The light changes…….you can imagine what’s going on inside the building, a cloud goes by and it takes an hour…..but you know, it’s being an observer, and in a sense he was an anthropologist…..of the sixties, of people, and visuals. To have recorded those things, I think is extraordinary, not that you should do it again,
but the body of work he did, he did it. It’s so easy to do a portrait of people for 15 minutes, who did it? Why end up doing it when it’s too late?
Q: Your reaction to when Warhol was shot
When Warhol was shot……..VALERIE. Valerie’s an interesting character, demented of course. When I first met her on the set of ‘I A Man’, cause we were in the same movie, I was very intrigued about her philosophy of not so much hating men, but pointing out that this was a man’s society, that women had been oppressed…….Simone de Bouvoir, The Second Sex, but she was so right…Scum, her Society For Cutting Up Men, it’s a bit radical I suppose, but she had a point. ……She had written that play, “Up Your Ass’, and had given a copy to Warhol and a copy to Gerodius, the publisher of Publisher, and then she wanted it back and Andy could not find it, and they finally found it in the trunk of Billy Name 20 years later……
She said that Andy was going to keep it and steal it, and make a movie from that……she was upset with Gerodius, so she got a got a gun and said she’s going to get Gerodius. She went to his office and he wasn’t there, so then she headed for the factory, and bang bang, shooted Warhol. Which was extremely critical,
he was on the operation table for eleven hours. The bullet went through 11 vital organs, which…a tramautic victim, which I think he carried on all his life, and his premature death is actually due to that. A traumatic victim, you better be monitored very carefully to go to the hospital, and they did not. Then Valerie turned herself in, she had her 15 minutes of fame……..she knew what she was doing. ….
When Warhol eventually died for real, we were very devastated, because, …..all the women in a way, I guess they were in love, really….I wanted part of his power, and so I thought if I could marry Warhol, I would get half his power, so when he died, (laugh) too late now, we missed the boat
………..(delete the dream stuff)……
His immense possession, his immense collection, because he was a compulsive collector, and after he died, Sotheby’s had an auction with seven or eight catalogues, one for the jewelry, one for the watches, one for the sculpture, one for the furniture……(the work just before he died)…….
I think in a way he was spiritual,……..his work of art of xxxx the American dream. There’s an element of spirituality in the American dream…….
People come to America, why? It’s not as if for the gold rush, it’s a different kind of life, a better kind of life, and it’s searching for the truth, which can only happen in a country where people are sort of free, not that this county’s 100 per cent the best model, but nevertheless, a certain freedom compared to other places……..
and then he represented in his work the American Disasters, so he’s trying to show life can be a dream or a disaster, and it makes you think, what’s life really about? Where do you go from this….what’s the resolution?
To me his legacy was the work he was doing at the end of his career, which was truly of spiritual nature…… (delete)……’.Basquat’ etc)……….questioning the meaning of life, and I think he had some answers
Q. But during the factory years..
He was raised extremely religiously by his family, but after he went away, like all of us, to experiment, he had to put things to the test…….(delete “my book” etc.)…finding out for himself what’s true, what’s not true, what’s right, what’s wrong, but I think the conclusion of his life expresses what he considered to be right.
Q. wrapping up film…If you were making this film
….(Ultra talking about the making of this film, suggestions etc)……
About Warhol, repetition, you know, the silk screen, number 1 electric chair, but eight, again that has to do with the sixties, where east met west, where the xxxxbeat, you know which was the Heartbeat, the repetition, the xxxx, but all of this actually came from way beyond, this guru that came from India, Indian art, sacred art, the Buddha, you don’t have one Buddha, you have 670 Buddha, and then Warhol took that and he did 670 coca cola bottles. ………sure it was new, but it was new industrial made, but it always existed, and he knew how to make it post industrial……..(her suggestions for the movie, etc. )
Q. Ultra, thank you (clapping)
…You’re still thinking about art, Warhol is an art figure….
….(Include cartoons)…my work……the maitre d, but the head is a skull,…..and he’s lifting…those very big silver things, with white gloves, he’s lifting it…..and under is a can of Campbell’s soup. ….because Campbell’s canned soup, in a way, is deadly, and if you were to feed yourself with Campbell’s can soup for the rest of your life, forget it! ……more about her book)…….
……….(U talking about our post production I have an imagination)……
Q: I like the cartoon idea
………(delete all this)…..
Q. If Andy were alive today…..
I think that if Andy were alive today, he had such power the day he died, that his power would be amplified. What do you do with your power, you have to do something. And power is in politics, much more so than the art actually,. I think that he would have a political ticket………No, he would not be a recluse, no no no.
Q.but was he interested in politics
when he was invited to the White House he certainly went, he was interested in power, so whatever form or shape power is, he’s interested…………
Q. But the factory was…..
……..the factory started in 1963 , and the Silver Factory ended when Andy was shot in 1968………
Everything ends, but then you go through a wave and recreate something else. Talking about Warhol in that he had the Silver Factory, the film area, then he had the portrait era, then he had the painting era…He had, way before, the commercial era, .but he always kept on the commercial…..and then he had the socialite era, he was the General Motors of the Art. Well, that’s the way an artist should be in the 21st century.
(repeat of ep.3 line) He was the General Motors of the Art.. He never called back some defective motors, though, (laugh) He should have. Any art, there’s never any mistake, anything goes.
You know Andy, when he was much younger, he wanted to be a tap dancer. And to be a tap dancer you’ve got to levitate from the ground , and Andy could not levitate from the ground. So he said , gee, I’m going to go into art, because there’s no criteria in art, anything goes, there’s no right there’s no wrong.. That’s an extraordinary field………
Q. But then he left art….
……...Until the end Andy made art……….he made art until the very end.,,,…When he died he had…….nearly a hundred people on payroll……….in addition to having things made outside. Yeah, he was the General Motors of the Art