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Top of the Pods: the world of Warhol as told by Jeremy Deller and Donna De Salvo


The newspaper put coasties brought to you in association with Bonham's auction is in seventeen ninety three to find out more visit bombs dot com hello and welcome to top the pods another episode in which we back the highlights from the two hundred interviews that we've done over the past two years on the art newspaper podcast this week. We're looking at two conversations about Andy Warhol. The huge warhol retrospective effective from A to B and back again which began at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York last November is now at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and later travels to the art institute of Chicago across to podcasts last year we looked in detail at the show itself and it will host Legacy Z. of it later you hear from Jeremy Della. The British artist who as a young man spent a few weeks Warhol's let studio the factory in New York but I is an interview from October last year. We've done a desalvo the curator the touring retrospective Donna was to come to our senior editor in New York Nancy Kenny in a catalog essay for the exhibition. You write that you met with Warhol in the eighties. When you were curator the Dea Art Foundation I'd love to hear about those interactions sure well <hes> <hes> you know when I met Warhol in eighty five eighty six? I A little fuzzy myself about the time but I believe it was late eighty five early eighty six it was <hes> during a time when I was taking forward some exhibitions from the museum's collection election and the had this incredible retrospective collection of Warhol's work and so really that's sort of was the framework if you will the context for it all and you know at first he was not very forthcoming. <hes> there was an exhibition of the disaster paintings that organized and he was not really that involved but then I had this idea to do something that really examined his pre silkscreen work work he'd made from sixty to sixty two Enron. I reached out to him. He was very intrigued by the idea quite interested in it and it was at a time when he himself was revisiting hand painting in his collaborations with Basquiat and <hes> Keith haring. I found him a very open been shy interested artists well and course when you're young curator sort of overwhelmed by the mythic status of someone such as Warhol so I was <hes> you know in my own for me. I was a bit take it back about how to approach him but then the conversations became really quite straightforward and very <hes> he was very forthcoming with information. I asked him a lot about the period of time he'd worked in the fifties in particular are interested in that and then you know how it was that he came to make these decisions between the more gesture abstraction and the move toward you know something that really appeared printed the last warhol retrospective organized by American Museum was at the Museum of Modern Art in Nineteen eighty-nine just two years after his death <hes> that's almost three decades ago. What new perspectives have you gained since then sure I mean it's it's sort of amazing easing to imagine that you know it's been that long since a U._S.? Institution took on <hes> a major retrospective of Warhol. I think in many ways that you know there's an entirely new generation many of them were not even on born in nineteen eighty nine and so you know I think that <hes> there's a generation that's been grappling with both rethinking painting what painting can be engagements with abstraction but also I think a fluidity <hes> pity or a comfort zone with looking and working with new technologies media-driven things <hes> digital technologies so that's something that's really struck me immensely in all these years later is to see a new generation for whom warhol makes total sense and it made me see I really felt that Warhol was very ahead of his times and that they're the perception of his work in the sixties of course you know was for the most part he had his detractors tractors and still does but for the most part it was an incredibly radical move to make a silkscreen <hes> to use silkscreen to make a painting but you know in the seventies and eighties Warhol's work wasn't quite as popular and I I think that you know his use of technology photography <hes> ideas about image making and of course in an age of instagram and so many other social media platforms you know Warhol's famous statement you know everyone we'll be famous for fifteen minutes which is probably fifteen seconds <hes> rings incredibly true so on some level. I'm particularly interested in a generation of artists that <hes> came a couple of decades several decades after Warhol and a new audience <hes> of people who will becoming too or halls work in many ways in many instances. I think not necessarily for the first time but to see this level of depth in the work will be for many people a a A. I hope an eye opening experience just the show cast the nineteen sixties as his biggest moment. No it really <hes> you know felt very it was very important to really look through at the trajectory of Warhol's worked to consider his career as a whole and I think there's been so much attention paid to the sixties. Both you know in critic particularly at a critical level <hes> and the later work suffered a bit and it's there are those people and critics and <hes> and Norma scholarship after Warhol died of course when he died in eighty seven and a lot of work also came out that you know would had not been shown in his lifetime really changed perceptions. I think about warhol world's a gay man especially the early worker the fifties where you see an aspect of Warhol that you isn't as evident in the later work but I think that seventies and eighties period <hes> was misunderstood stood. It didn't really look even though the technique had similarities with sixties. The subject matter was completely different. <hes> yes hammer-and-sickle <hes> which you know he was inspired by graffiti going to Italy during the time of the Red Guard but then here's an artist who makes skull paintings or paintings of shadows <hes> this subject matter is quite distinct from the more quote unquote iconic imagery of the sixties so what I've tried to do which I think that you do at any Ortis case is to really show how those ideas have evolved over time and I would say if almost half maybe slightly half the exhibition is also devoted to the work that he made post nineteen sixties well. Let's dive into his early career. In nineteen forty nine more than a decade before the Campbell soup cans or the Mao or the Maryland images were also familiar with warhol started out as an illustrator and commercial advertising and he became quite a successful one. How did that influences later work well? What are the arguments of the exhibition is that that fifties period was foundational for Warhol because to a large extent he was already a talent an an extraordinary draftsman <hes> and I think that in coming to New York and he didn't set out to be a commercial artists he came with his college friend Philip Perlstein and they were roommates together and you know they were wanting to be artists but they had to support themselves warhol very readily God the job at Glamour magazine because he had this great proficiency a drawing <hes>? I think that throughout the fifties what he was able to do was to also see very firsthand the mechanics of visual visual communication how images are put together. How desire is created in a product whether it's a shoe <hes> you know or pharmaceutical and so to be part of that and to see and work with art directors you know many extremely sophisticated and really well trained themselves some in the bow house you know he had a firsthand for front row seat and engagement with that process as what you how you work with an art director how the art director transmits their idea of how it needs to change and also he had this he was immersed in the technology of the period technologies the periods such as photostats machines opaque projectors all the things that you use in to create these images that are fundamentally their final? <hes> you know the final their final <hes> location is in print so he's working in a world in which print and particularly increasingly more photography is the language of popular culture. You write that early in his career. He seems to have run into censorship when he tried to show at art galleries. What were they objecting to well? You know it was hit. Many of his early paintings <hes> were the subject matter you know would was mostly figurative although they did he would use different patterns to obscure the image or he would mimic the brush strokes of you know some I argue one some restaurants at Rhinehart <hes> ornate off Gottlieb <hes> he there's a particular incident that led me to that conclusion and it's really one that was rebounded to me by Philip Perlstein Warhol had made a series as of paintings in round the late fifties that he asks Pearlstine to take to the Tanger- Gallery which was a cooperative gallery. Many of the IBEX painters were involved. The subject was of two boys kissing and of course they took he dutifully took the to the gallery and they laughed so it wasn't I dunno censorship's the right word but it's certainly was not at all in sync with the kind of subject matter at that time <hes> that's not to say there weren't artists this such as Larry rivers in particular who warhol credits as an influence who were playing with that kind of figurative subject matter I also that had this you know kind of coded Campy Coy <hes> aspect to it but it it was not. I'm not what they were GONNA. Show at those galleries back then the art will was dominated by Macho abstract expressionist wasn't it absolutely I mean you know I it's the women the great women of that period from Grace Oregon and and you know Joan Mitchell show. Are you know got there do but much later on in a lot of ways so yes it was a very male male defined although a number of women who were working at that time and you know you have early Johns and Rauschenberg working at that time so you know Warhol's part of a group of artists who <hes> for whom that subject matter would would not have appealed or that Bravura you know <hes> was just out of sync and he's also younger. He's a younger generation so <hes> this is extremely difficult time and <hes> but he keeps you know peas persistent in making his work like any any driven artist well. The show has examples of his early handpainted work. There's the Coca Cola bottle for example which not apparently painted in a drippy abstract expressionist style but he also painted it in a way that resembles a commercially printed image. Now I mean this is really seen as kind of breakthrough moment for him because much of the work that he was making you know and many any other artists by the way we looked in sign <hes> James Rosenquist there were many artists who were still in that late fifties period you know were making we're interested in subject matter but still feeling that they had to in some way tip their hat to abstract expressionism so wore homemade two versions of the painting and one was a giant coke bottle that had drips on it and he invited is a very famous story invited for Friends Irving Plum Ivan Carp M._e._d.. The Antonio and Henry Gonzalez to look at the painting and he wanted to see what they thought about leaving behind the drips essentially and and then what about the other image which really appeared printed and very mechanical and there's very little trace of the orders fan in an all preferred the tighter version but I find it fascinating that you know he he nonetheless needed that you know I've always said now that Warhol's way of asking everyone's opinion would probably be called. Maybe maybe a degree of crowd sourcing today but he was very smart to get you know these are four extraordinary people that he's asking who are very knowledgeable and very much tapped into what was going on in contemporary art at the time so you know he wanted their opinion opinion and thank- thankfully you know one often conjectures what might have happened if they'd said we prefer the drippy version maybe world still would have gone forward with the other will then in sixty two you seem shifting to a mechanical silkscreen screen technique. was that a breakthrough well. I think there's a evolution and that's why I think the fifties is so important because he's already very much engaged with using techniques of reproduction to the constructors images he goes from you know he used carved gum racers then he moves to stencils and so eventually and there's a famous <hes> always often describe with Warhol is very earliest technique was this blog at line where he would blow it on one so he would draw on one side of the piece of paper in Inc blotted with the other analogous to a monotype and it would create this kind of Kirke line that looked very much like Ben Sean who is very popular amongst commercial amongst art directors at the time time but it also allowed him to make copies of it and even had a couple of assistance as early as early fifty so in some ways the move to the silkscreen is seems inevitable. What's differentiates it from that earlier? Your time was the the insertion or the use of the photograph because now you're moving from a something he draws himself and there are some silk screens that were are based on drawings but to use used silkscreen photo silkscreen it to make painting. Is this really when form and content come together so he's using the very technique through which these images are disseminated in the world to make the painting and that's the radical shift. If that's the paradigm well you also have the paintings he made by borrowing from journalistic photography he depicts accidents like car crashes for example in his death and disaster series and then you have the electric chairs and the race riots and the Jacqueline Kennedy and morning. What was the fascination with all that was he obsessed with death? Well you know I think there's often I think we're all obsessed with it one way or another so but so is journalism I mean you know the spectacle of violence violence and you know that's a moment of look magazine life magazine so it's a very different era than we live in today where you have multiple sources multiple <hes> places to go for news but you know I think there is that awareness awareness of you know when we see accidents and I you know I I'll admit to it. You know you're on the road you see the accident. You're compelled to look so I do think that he was tapping into something that had to do with you. Know this compulsion impulsion that we have to look <hes> almost the kind of disbelief to also see something so horrific <hes> at the time he talks about because he was going to do a show in Paris and he says I think I'll call a death in America. So there's a lot of different you know th this is where you know the literature and morals own statements and other people's <hes> recounting of the moment can leave you a little bit you know <hes> your head spinning but he does say something about in around December that you you know this is a time when people will be on the road and it is true that <hes> just prior to any holiday. We do get this something from the radio or T._v.. And we're anticipating you know a number of accidents over the holiday period so I think that he picked up on that and I think there's something more there and that's why I think that's such an extraordinary series because there is something you know you're going from the celebrities of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley and troy donahue money you natalie wood and now you move into people who are non Mus and their their celebrity. If one wants to call it that comes about you know through a tragic accident or in the case of <hes> you know the mustard race stride as he called it you know the civil rights protests in Birmingham so you know it's it's vulnerability of one of also when people are threatened in that way and there's one in particular Colt suicide full and body that depicts the <hes> tragic death of a woman who jumps impera state-building and she is nestled in the top of a car that she falls into and doesn't look dead and it's it's probably the most want I believe one of the most haunting because it's it's a very vulnerable something about the framing <hes> of the image all of course taken by photojournalists. These were newswire photographs. Some of them were never printed because they were too grotesque. Others made it into newspaper and the one I just described of the suicide was <hes> printed twice in life magazine so I think they speak to an America. Also that is one that were violence is a huge part of our history <hes> where he I own interpretation you know are we in some ways punished for consuming. There's one tunafish disaster of two women who <hes> both are tragically <hes> die as a result of poison tuna fish so it's a it's a very eh. Maybe the flip side of you know a certain kind of postwar optimism <hes> and I believe they remain some of his most searing paintings and of course the Electric Chair <hes> which is just <hes> you know a startling image ed to see and of course warhol makes one in the show is a lavender disaster painting so in a sense the absurdity the irony and the horrific nature and maybe even our disregard or are you know the way in which but you can look at an image and is what is it really about when you see this loan electric chair from sing-sing prison and the recognition that this is a means of capital punishment and then it's beautiful by lavender it. It really sets up inevitable incredible contradiction in what you're looking at so. Do you see these works having a political thrust I do I mean I think that that is a subtexts in many of Warhol's works not all some with Disa- dispute that there's a lot of debate especially in the critical community about was warhol political in what he was doing <hes> you could read just about any work of art political way. I think that they are I think that that the but there I think that's evident even in his pictures of soup cans you know I think that there's a certain kind of <hes> confirmation of obsessions desires and at the same time it's putting it in our face so there's a there's a duality and I think that we're all I've always felt he picked up on what I've seen as the twin contradictions of of the American psyche which is the desire for innovation but also for conformity. I understand that the Whitney has a special connection to war films which he started making sixty three right. Yes I'm from sixty three to sixty eight. He made something like six hundred fifty films. It's it's it's mind boggling actually and Izzo number of years ago John Hand hard hard who was in the curator of film and video at the Whitney <hes> started to had conversations with warhol about his films and preserving his films and that really gave birth to the war to the Whitney's catalog resume project <hes> and my <hes> Lake colleague Kelly Angel who is the author of the first catalog resume of the films which just focus on the screen tests worked with Museum of Modern Art who houses the actual films and the Warhol Museum of when it came into existence to really begin the process of looking not only the films you know that were shown but in numbers numbers of reels of material that had never been seen and they have dutifully gone through the bulk of it and looked at it and noted the language in it who was in it <hes> and this is an incredible piece of scholarship because unlike looking at a painting which you know one devotes a certain degree of time but you know with time wine-based media one can only imagine given the personalities we meet in the film's D._C.. The films as the kind of portraiture I do. I think that that you know if you think of the screen tests alone. <hes> you know they are portrait's but their portraits that allow for something else because they're filmed and because of the element of time world's interested in port interest in portrait of Poetry of course is evident through the fifties where he has sketching a lot of men. He's catching other people. He's a great social observer and so the films of course allow for both a much more psychological penetration of the subject <hes> by having them sit very still in in front of a stationary Tama but also to pursue you know many ideas about <hes> how far you could push film how harsh you could push the medium itself. You know whether with Warhol he running them at a faster speed allowing in some things the strobe caught different things that when the film can't when you run out of tape is evident that most people edit out and he's part of that you know avant-garde Film Community Jonas meekest since Stan Vanderbeek. I mean a lot of other filmmakers who are experimenting in this way. I think it's the the the just the sheer number of films that were hall made that is you know really mind boggling and just again evidence of his veracious <music> appetite <hes> as visual artist <hes> to play out ideas in the seventies then we see him doing commission portrait's <hes> for jet-set Society socialites and movie people and industrialists they did Warhol need those commissions financially or was probably a way of staying in the limelight probably a bit of both but I think he I think he you know in a sense he sort of was playing with the very convention of how that kind of poetry has existed. I it whether you know it was in the era of Velazquez and you know the an artist is commissioned to do a royal portrait or you know up to John Singer Sargent or Robert Henry you know those artists were equally working in a similar way and often times they were sought out by celebrities social socialites. I don't know celebrities of is a more twentieth century term but you know certainly wealthy individuals socialites philanthropists so I think that for Warhol Oh you know want us to remember that a lot of the work that he made in the seventies in the eighties was not commercially successful so he was supporting the enterprise there <hes> through those portrait commissions and they start out even in the sixties is the N._F._l.. Skull portrait that's in the exhibition. There's an incredible portrait of a <hes> Insurance Executive in the Midwest that'll be in the show and he's interested in portraiture throughout the idea. Then of the commission portrait really just takes over and you know people. I think it's like with any you know any well-known artists to have your portrait painted by a certain well-known figure is I it conveys its own sort of status symbol and they range because some of them for more endearing. There's a great portrait of his mother. Julia of his of his early dealers Ileana Sauna Bend <hes> artists that he <hes> trade at work for and then you know right up through Dolly Parton and <hes> the Shaw Iran and his wife and her sister and I do think there's a qualitative difference between the portraits where he <hes> my argument is you can see a bit of difference between the portrait's where he knew someone where there was an actual connection and those were are. He's just brilliant at having figured out a system that allowed him to make them very quickly <hes> and get paid for them and sometimes people didn't want them. They probably regretted that years later that grid of portrait's on the <hes> lobby walls it has kind of an instagram affect doesn't it well. I think it's an early facebook you know because if you think about it this desire that you know we have to feel recognized to feel like <hes> <hes> is very much a part of our culture and <hes> I've seen this as a as as somewhat of a facebook of it's era obviously it's not comprehensive but one of my colleagues <hes> Mark Lakensha who's done a lot of work mapping the portraits and really who how they came about who you know who was the contact. Sometimes it was warhol. Sometimes it was a dealer. Sometimes it was a friend you know you see this incredible network of how these individuals or even linked back to Warhol so in some way Warhol's always at the center of it all <hes> but it is in in many ways. It's it's a facebook. It's <hes> it's about being liked. It's about how you can have agency to make yourself into a star now. We can do that in a way that I don't think it would have been UNIM- unimaginable actually was not possible in Warhol's era. I mean now you can create your own. You know you can become famous for just putting your images on spend on instagram. It's it's it's a there's a good in a bad of of that desire to feel that the only way that you exist is to be <hes> liked in the concept of that like or dislike is like or that you you know absolutely desire need to record every aspect of your life and I wore whole was doing that and he prefigures innocence what has happened in our culture in the nineteen as then. You see some art historical appropriations don't you. I mean like the last supper paintings yes. He just goes through a period of time where he he looks at Deke Rko. I'd Vard monk the scream he goes through sort of the renaissance. He's interested in renaissance paintings. I think one of the most <hes> complex topics he takes on his Leonardo's last supper and he was doing them in his studio and his one of his old time dealers Alexandria list came to the studio saw Oh them and had this idea that we're would present these paintings very near to the Leonardo's original and we have an extraordinary painting in the show that combines camouflage with the last supper image and you know the the two I think it's a it's a very alluring very mysterious painting. <hes> functions on many many different levels of course the you know became known after his death that he was Catholic and very devout Catholic <hes> but to quote also Leonardo painting which already done with his Mona Lisa painting in nineteen sixty three you know this is were warhol looks at also a painting that itself entered into popular culture so you know he works from really cheap marquette's or you know little plaster images of the Last Supper or there are some prince that he uses so this is a work of art like the Mona Lisa <hes> that you know crossover. Let's say from the walls of the Louvre an into just the the world of pop culture commercial culture and so his choices. I think that's the most successful of them. He did do other works of art by other artists but I think this is the one that we're he's able. Able to do something with the image connects with it and the ones we had the one we have also conflicts camouflage with it as well with the Last Supper yes <hes> it came as a surprise to me to read that he was actually observant Catholic. Did he go to mass apparently apparently and apparently he was you know served soup. It went to a soup kitchen. <hes> of course he grows up in a Byzantine Catholic family in Pittsburgh and so that is his background but it you know it was not something I was aware of off and not something I focused on but again I think this is information that what became if not more available people focused on it more posthumously so you know his memorial service which I did go to is at Saint Patrick's cathedral and you know it was a star-studded a group there <hes> and the statement was made by John Richardson in his eulogy you know talking about Warhol and Church that he would go and serve soup at and you know you sort sort of really is a close to him with no this. I wasn't an intimate but <hes> but I think it just reveals. Also you know him as a human being and it's so difficult because Warhol created this myth around himself that in in many ways I think obscured his work as an artist and also his you know love of the commercial love of money many of these things I think prevented people from in some way seeing the real talent in his work burke <hes> and you know we we have difficulty in some ways. We expect artists to have to live a certain kind of life for to be a certain kind of way I think that's so much less the case in the last few decades but his I think Catholicism to me is also very important in terms of his understanding of the icon so you know <hes> growing up in a religion where icons were gold is used in such way such a way you know he he was very very aware of the of how the power of the image you know both in terms of confirming belief but also almost as a kind of tool of propaganda you will so the the idea of believing in what you're seeing what is it that you believe when you see when you look at an image and particularly if it's a something that exists in the world and it's a brand you know all of those things play into it and I I really believe fundamentally that what Warhol's whole project comes to and the shadows and particularly make clear is the illusion that we're looking at something that is an illusion and it are mine wants to believe. It's the real thing whether it's the coke bottle or you know even even the Leonardo painting at the time the Leonardo <hes> Last Supper there was tremendous debate about <hes> restoring it because what we're looking at of course is not as it had appeared when Davinci made it was has done a fresco it had peeled from the wall there were debate. Should it be left as it is and Warhol even says he preferred it in his in its deteriorated state so this whole idea of what a work of art is but also beyond Yawn because I think because he has he moves over he's able to somehow bring together the world of popular culture in the world of art history in the world of art that somehow it's not just the we're looking at a a painting but we're looking at a painting about something and object a brand. That's trying to get us to believe something to buy it so it's very complicated enterprise within it now. We're whole obviously long long to be a legend. Didn't he <hes> time after time he reproduced his own image itself portrait's but they're still something a little mysterious about him a kind of self concealment <hes> through your work on the show have you do you feel that you've gotten to understand no him and well. I could never say that I know him in that sense but I think that you know you see as an individual. I think that many there was a sort of hidden part to how he lived his life. Clearly we're just talking about his Catholicism. You know and other things that were not commonly known so there was a distance you know whether it was being an insider in an outsider because I think he was that to a certain certain extent <hes> you know it's like a way you're on the street and off the street <hes> but I also think that you know there was an air of mystery that he purposely created around himself. You know he begins using his own self portraits year round sixty eighty four and makes himself subject but of course the self portrait is not a new idea in the history of art <hes> but eventually also he does become a brand and in the eighties he appears in T._v.. Commercials the appears in print commercials for various projects. It products mostly outside of the U._S.. Does one for Japanese commercial for Japanese television <hes> so it's the level of product endorsement in the days the old days where Joan Crawford Sold pepsi-cola Cola so that's not a new thing we still have you know <hes> Matthew mcconaughey I think's Ellen cars and so it's not a kind of you know new idea but you know the the issue of you know the late self-portrait what's that he makes which of course with the fright wig where you know. There's a mysterious figure there and I think most really good artists often say little about themselves so I I think for all that Warhol All said in the diaries all of you know he's out there more than any other artists I can imagine to some extent. <hes> you know Oscar Wilde certainly with someone who put out a lot of information about himself so he's a little bit in that you know in that vein but you never know everything and I think that's the same thing with his works of art that when it comes down to it they remain mysterious as any great work of Art <hes> I think does I've always believed that this test of a great work of art is that no matter how do you how many times you go back to it. You can't completely figure it out and I think that's the case with Warhol. Well apparently met Donald Trump in me several times and he writes about trump and trump's first wife Ivana <hes> in his diaries. I also see that trump is quoted warhol and a couple of his books. How do you think your show connects with this Trumpian moment? Were in well it absolutely you know Warhol did have exchanges with Donald Trump of course they were both on the scene in New York and <hes> <hes> trump had asked him to make a painting of one of his buildings trump tower and warhol did it and then trump rejected it because he said that the color Combo didn't he didn't like the Color Combo and I think we're warhol quotes in his diaries the Irish that he thought Donald Trump was really cheap so you know I think it's a great question because I do think that because Warhol's work is so identified with the United States and because the subject matter is absolutely recently drawn from for the most part the U._S. that it's an interesting moment to look at what is being projected in that work and that optimism of the sixties in the postwar era and a very different kind of America in America on the on the you know as the savior of the world. <hes> you know the Marshall Plan. I mean we're in a very different place then than we are now so I think it's very interesting to look at that and to compare these two times. Sometimes when we're in an extremely different different situation <hes> both domestically and globally I think the other thing is to you know think about <hes> the way warhol creates these fictions is through his films of the sixties and the you know the inevitable rise culturally and this is not something I would say was something Warhol can be. You know said he did that he in that he created but but you know we live in an age of celebrity culture of Reality T._v. and so it's quite interesting to think of that you know cinema verite that started to happen in a lot of Warhol's films where you see it as you see it. There's no script it's acting out <hes> and then there was famous program the loud family I think in nineteen seventy where they track the family California family with cameras in the home and you know all manner of things divorces son coming out gay they all come out before our camera and on camera and you know it's not you know go from that to our reality T._v.. Obsessed culture which has been the case now for at least ten years or so <hes> is is <hes> you know it's a very frightening idea idea because it starts to raise this question of what is true. What are we looking at what can be manufactured and so you know? I think it's a very interesting moment to look at Warhol in particular because you know when you plan an exhibition you never know Oh what the world is going to be and I think many of us didn't expect we would be where we are now so I'm very interested to see there may be some who see Warhol as the cause of audit people who've said that to me. I don't think anyone artists could claim such power in the world but I think that he like most artists anticipate something and has that on ten. I and I do think that there's something within Warhol's work which has a dark side <hes> and I and also <hes> you know says something about aspects of the United States are love capitalism our love of consumerism <hes> you know we'll we are as a society of consumers were in a very sad place so and and you can be consuming. All kinds of things doesn't have to be products it can also be you know <hes> information. That's fed to us so it's it's a very potent time. I think to raise many of these issues and I I hope that some of this you know comes into the conversation station in terms of the exhibition. You want work. I believe the work remains <hes> extremely relevant and now we'll test out what that relevance really means. Thank you for joining US Donna my pleasure thank you now. In Nineteen ninety-six the year before hall died. He had an exhibition the Anthony d'affaires Gallery in London a twenty year old student of the cool towed Institute of London met him the private view and was later invited by Warhol will halt to New York to visit the factory. That student was Jeremy Della the British artist he's continued to reflect some of the key elements of Warhol's work in his own practice indeed in two thousand fourteen della expert the connections between Warhol and another of his Heroes William Morris an an exhibition at Modena Oxford Della came to a studio at so radio in London in November last year to talk to me about meeting Whoa Ho and about his enduring significance Jeremy if we could begin with your first experiences of Andy Warhol how we whistle teenager looking at work somewhere it would definitely been probably through the Maryland through maybe seeing that tate yeah as it was then and <hes> just being aware of him through the velvet underground photographs of him just threw him being dominant character really and <hes> hearing stories about him and being retrieved by dressed as a bit the Gulf so as of sixteen year old so he adequate goth look at the head wasn't black obviously but just the whole look joint black but he you know he did wear black but he was just a very appealing character we use of re I certainly my first experiences of warhorse of reading about him by musical artists talking about him in music magazines and stuff like that. Do you sort of art conscious as a young man. I was conscious in that respect yes and so I did I knew about him. I I think it's probably really photographs of him which were more intriguing him Italy's funny looking people and doing stuff and looking very blank and with the wig and in these situations and sewn so I think he's very appealing. Heating vessel dressing up aspect of him was very painting and also his identity creating this identity for himself. If you're not lesson you quite interested in that aspect of people when they do that and the five he looked like he was having a really good time though you'd never didn't really small that much but it just like he was misbehaving in public when he was out everything he did was form of rebellion ready and his whole life was was essentially the rebellion against humanity and I think that fat I think is something that we have really that's a really important part of him ready and so when you were studying history at the cool told we you already very contemporary art focused Acoust- that stage no I wasn't I mean I has the court old was not contemporary art absolutely was the APP so upset so as an interest I had anyway right so of aware contemporary the wherever characters like Goodwin Jordan Warhol and you know these big people men mainly and they were intriguing characters and in a way Goodwin George took a lot from Mojo I would argue attempts to that sinus famous not exactly robotic ticked me this blank demeanor and just watching and so on and will so just work looked will hold in I would argue with the colors and the techniques so yes I was interested in artists the two characters as well and so you went to the Anthony d'affaires exhibition in one thousand nine hundred six and actually met Warhol there while he saw he was doing sign. He'll signing things that have on rushed to the table and go thing signed and I did few things signed and then afterwards one of his entourage said Oh come come comp- though tell on Thursday night selena cheese day and just hang out concoct replaced it with oil a will do that. Actually I'm I'm. I'm just going to go and do that. took a friendly me and we had this funny couple of hours with Whoa Ho and his own sororities people sitting around. Can you set the scene. That's in the Ritz Right. It's in the Ritz. It's a we dressed up a little bit. Mike Chris in suits and of funny hats took bag of props with us like hat's a weeks and all sorts of things we didn't know what to expect both a bit nervous and we went to the sweet the ritzy hat and we coq ten and they'll just a bunch of middle aged men sitting around watching Benny Hill with a sound turn down and Roxy Music Great tits type playing in Ghetto blaster which if you think about is pretty good so of installation and it's I'm right and there he was with these men who look a bit board really strange and just sitting around waiting to happen when we were what was with the entertainment vice me we went Emma chatting pitcher tight can so capone funny. He's funny hats and just mucks about relief street as mocked about and then there's a funny fighter. You're actually view with wore her and you've got a New York Yankees based Black New York. There's another one that's another smother photographs vessels missiles or like puzzle blogs like on around each like wearing funny clothes and it was quite innocent really and <hes> thankfully and so we just then he said Oh come out to the factory. I'm doing a T._v.. Show just come out and whatever I mean just again. I just thought well. I'M GONNA turn down. I will regret this not doing this happens. I'M GONNA regret not doing it so we went out that some of and spent two weeks hanging around the factory working on this M._t._v. show he he's doing being filmed for just really hanging around so we saw him the and he would just wonder around the factory. That's how I seemed when he was actually working very hard I think but he was he was just wondering about in these paints spattered black jeans gains in black powder neck Chang to people in one. Oh we can't just of the sort of myth of factory or the all the stories about the factory that the factory as an idea and people in it is just how as a teenager you wanna live your life basically in this room always funny people and rock and roll as glamorous women and whatnot and it just seemed like that how you won't live to be it just looked amazing and so the factory wasn't like that in one thousand eight six but it's still super exciting to be there. Can you describe some of the spaces because it was it was by that stays there was sort of multiple rooms big big how <hes> big office building basically a nice building but it was it was an office building about four flaws the roof roof you'd walk through the factory and you'd get you into another building which was interview so those that as well. which is the magazine Yes juice so you know he had his magazine? They had film production. He had his office this yet his office <hes> which was full of boxes and books and magazines which wasn't even a chair in his full. You know he had no he. Didn't you know his office unusable basically but it was it was office of a relaxed ext office environment. I would say that makes sense some stuffed animals around pretty pollens on the desk but you know you were that you you in. That place is very exciting. D Did that mark that moment when he he made that shift from you'll studying history and you make that shift into thinking there's a possibility of being an artist. The possibility is a good word because it's just showed what was possible war what was actually possible in the world as an artist. You basically did whatever you wanted. Unheated Savory wanted that's why they seemed like it. Complete freedom it wasn't actually the case need the diaries and find out about what was going on at that time his quite frustrated but's. It's just like he could do he wounded and <hes> yes dismayed the world of Baroque altarpieces much I love them just not particularly become really compete with that with with contemporary life and so I think about to college finish my degree. Nobody knew what to do with the experience of being the really didn't know what it took some time to process in a way but I just knew I'd been ruined by <hes> in terms of an history my life in history had just been destroyed by going to see him and one of the striking connections I think between your work and Andy Warhol's life work is is this connection with with music and particularly comportment Warhol's famous cavs for the velvet underground. Yes and rolling is known sticky fingered etc so yes yes but also just that sort of spiritual connection between art and music and it seems to me that's right of the hard what you do yes yes it. Is that existed before. Really you know the the music connection to music and pop music was about four or five so that was what he but then seeing an artist was seemed to be part that was well was interested in it was quite influential so you always happy to know that and but Yes for music and all thing for me was always huge. Huge instill is I mean maybe less so now so lost touch with pop music but I still have opinions but but yes that. was you know that not having any boundaries. I think it was the interesting thing with him. Film magazine Music Arts a performance in a way you know his life was performance as for me as is a great influence in that respect and the spicer say the fact that he so to corralled people together into interesting situations and you think about the films <hes> very many of them warhawks setting up a situation and seeing what happens in and you see that to a certain degree in your work as well yes little bit. I mean a very different situation yet but he is yes. He was of wire. He's clearly was of wire of people. He wasn't really you take part in things and I had a little bit about me as well very good at taking part and things. I like the papers to take part in. It's a bit of a contradiction in a way that's yes I def- vest uh-huh is definitely a a connection respect. All obviously was an artist who had a very object based practice as well as the sort of more federal Bouma tive in film based works and stuff like that am I don't think of you as somebody who PAJIC's objects. I'm not done so that's a huge difference. I mean his his in ways where it was quite a lot is quite traditional was painting was net and <hes> and I think no. We don't have that much Komen really in. I mean I wouldn't compare myself anyway but I just think yes. I mean the way he's responsible for law problems in the cards. I think you know this concentration money the love of money and the way people work and talk about us I mean he he is one of the fest people to talk in those times about <hes> and and the ways prices have just been inflated as well. I mean that's nothing doesn't know his problem and the idea of office wants to be famous and all that kind of stuff about unleashed many Damon's in the art world he's second right artists who think they can be like him. Yes he he. He did open a can of worms and then as left us of workout to do that kind of worms dot o._R._G.. I agree with that and I think one of the things about Warhol was that he's he's understanding of those mechanisms and the this sort of infrastructures of those sort of power all structures if you like we was much more sophisticated than he's often given credit for absolutely I mean he saw if a whole of America from top to bottom you know he loved hanging out with rich people but he despised them as well and <hes> if you when you see doesn't have much good to say about the mm-hmm when you read the diaries and he thought he was I think he was very aware of social issues and famously. I still enough it's true and all he did do the soup kitchen thing on Friday evenings toward and I just done if that's true or yeah well don't have to salvo the curator. The Whitney suggested it is true if that's the case and he was going to the top on the bottom of America so he's very wear hats and he came from a very poor background. That's why I might an exhibition about William Morrison Warhol a few years ago and they both of them Morris to in Morris had clients who with some of the richest people in the world but also he would travel round Britain giving lectures and talks and an meeting people who are some of the poorest people in the country and they both with super super aware of that and we're Kinda quite angry buyers well Morris sent Morris Insane and I think it probably did that with wool hose where he probably quite angry by these wealthy people just thought not worthy of it of as riches. It seems to me that that show was was really trying to complicate Warhol as a as both an artist and public figure in a way that you you've expressed just now so contradictory three about him in some ways but but I think we'll in a way as he especially in sort of social media driven world has become a kind of caricature of what wo- actually was deepen the mysterious death is the thing that it was a lot more. Here's a very political artist. You could argue. I mean everyone just thinks just like money and what is interesting and it was surface and here's when you superficial but actually he was he was really deeply. His very profound artists documenting the American empire and you know the the his the postwar empire was America and he he was he was there artist and if you think about what what was America like in the sixties and seventies who Andy Warhol's work he don't read a book those images almost so I think he was absolutely a chronicler and it was a prophet as well like Morris. They're both prophets for the future of both looked into the future and saw what it was going to be like <hes> we'll hope basically predicted the Internet Denison some respects in terms of his interest in the way he was veracious collector and wanting to be everywhere over time me everyone be documented meeting. Everyone is kind of collecting habits is his wanting adding to document his life to record everything <hes> I still maintain that if he was alive during the Internet he would have been one of the major players with an Internet because all his obsessions or the obsessions of the Internet meeting people <hes> so social networks and then buying and selling things gossip photographing yourself always things he was doing this twenty years before Internet but he was the first Internet artists really but what's weird now is because the foundation foundation you cannot photograph is working exhibitions and his work doesn't exist on the Internet as you might think it would so which is a huge irony Richard sent him nuts. I'm sure not 'cause he wanted his work to be everywhere unavailable to everyone like Morris and so he sent him nuts thinking his work was actually not very well. Represented on the Internet just wouldn't be understand that invented for him. I exactly I mean another thing that interesting. Can you talk about being a goth but I think there is an attractiveness for lots of people in the sort of darkness of Warhol and it sort of an again this is to Warhol underplayed to a certain degree even the flower paintings which I thought you really interesting thing in that last dream of your <hes> show with a love is enough with with William Morris Mojo together was that you brought the flower paint flower paintings flowers papers together but even the flower paintings boy will run trains says there is much about life and death is Marilyn as and and and the and the death and disaster series transient the Pena's whatever they were then you go into camouflage as well off to that which of course is warfare but yes I think everything for him. I think he was very mortality and yes this is the darkness is what's appealing about him really isn't it. I think any Maryland that's someone who just recently died and then he started making the list portrait's because she was very sick and he police she's GonNa die so and do some list. cynic went away then the Kennedys <hes> work with portfolio made about the Kennedys and so on and really works now that had the greatest monetary value of death and disasters in the car on crushes and <hes> race riots and so that's what we really remember him for in the sixties least and no one made a motoric comment about that situation and heated ready by the race riot pictures and so I think the darkness with him was was clearly always there and his awkwardness and so on that that appeals to me of course pistole teenagers as well like I said I think you get into in very early. Leonie sustainable you to think so much. We're talking to thank you and he will help from eight to be back. Again is at the San Francisco Museum of modern well not until the second of September and then travels to the Art Institute of Chicago where it opens on the twentieth of October the excellent Cassini beautiful catalog that accompanies the show published by the Whitney and Yale University press is seventy dollars. You can keep up to date Ooh the latest Art World News at the newspaper Dot Com or on our APP for I._O._S.. which confined at the APP store on the website you'll find a range of subscriptions so that you can read our content seamlessly across multiple platforms? Meanwhile please go to free daily newsletter but all the latest stories Goto the newspaper Comb and Click the newsletter link at the top right of the page do subscribe to this podcast wherever you normally listen to them and please leaves a rating or review on Apple podcasts and follow us on twitter at ten Odia Russo on instagram.

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