Friday, July 13, 2007
6 is 6, I was 6/I am 6; From A Family Of Three
Paul Taylor: You are going to be showing your Last Supper paintings in Milan this year.
Andy Warhol: Yes.
Paul Taylor: When did you make the paintings?
Andy Warhol: I was working on them all year. They were supposed to be shown in December, then January. Now I don't know when.
Paul Taylor: Are they painted?
Andy Warhol: I don't know. Some were painted, but they're not going to show the painted ones. We'll use the silk-screened ones.
Paul Taylor: On some of them you have camouflage over the top of the images. Why is that?
Andy Warhol: I had some leftover camouflage.
Paul Taylor: From the self portraits?
Andy Warhol: Yeah
Paul Taylor: Did you do any preparatory drawings for them?
Andy Warhol: Yeah, I tried. I did about forty paintings.
Paul Taylor: They were all preparatory?
Andy Warhol: Yeah.
Paul Taylor: It's very odd to see images like this one doubled.
Andy Warhol: They're just the small ones.
Paul Taylor: The really big one is where there are images upside down and the right way up.
Andy Warhol: That's right.
Paul Taylor: It's odd because you normally see just one Jesus at a time.
Andy Warhol: Now there are two.
Paul Taylor: Like the two Popes?
Andy Warhol: The European Pope and the American Pope.
Paul Taylor: Did you see Dokoupil's show at Sonnabend Gallery?
Andy Warhol: Oh no, I haven't gone there yet. I want to go on Saturday.
Paul Taylor: It might be the last day. There you will see two Jesuses on crucifixes, one beside the other.
Andy Warhol: Oh
Paul Taylor: And he explained to me something like how it was transgressive to have two Jesuses in the same picture.
Andy Warhol: He took the words out of my mouth.
Paul Taylor: You're trying to be transgressive?
Andy Warhol: Yes.
Paul Taylor: In America, you could be almost as famous as Charles Manson. Is there any similarity between you at the Factory and Jesus at the Last Supper?
Andy Warhol: That's negative, to me it's negative. I don't want to talk about negative things.
Paul Taylor: Well, what about these happier days at the present Factory? Now you're a corporation president.
Andy Warhol: It's the same.
Paul Taylor: Why did you do the Last Supper?
Andy Warhol: Because [Alexander] Iolas asked me to do the Last Supper. He got a gallery in front of the other Last Supper, and he asked three or four people to do Last Suppers.
Paul Taylor: Does the Last Supper theme mean anything in particular to you?
Andy Warhol: No. It's a good picture.
Paul Taylor: What do you think about those books and articles, like Stephen Koch's Stargazer, and a 1964 Newsweek piece called Saint Andrew, that bring up the subject of Catholicism?"
Andy Warhol: I don't know. Stephen Koch's book was interesting because he was able to write a whole book about it. He has a new book out which I'm trying to to buy to turn into a screenplay. I think it's called The Bride's Bachelors or some Duchampy title. Have you read it yet?
Paul Taylor: No, I read the review in The New York Times Book Review.
Andy Warhol: What did it say?
Paul Taylor: It was okay.
Andy Warhol: Yeah? What's it about?
Paul Taylor: Stephen Koch described it to me himself. He said it was about a heterosexual Rauschenberg figure in the sixties, a magnetic artist who has qualities of a lot of sixties artists. He has an entourage. I don't know the rest.
Andy Warhol: I've been meaning to call him and see if he can tell me the story and send me the book.
Paul Taylor: Who's making a screenplay?
Andy Warhol: We thought that we might be able to do it.
Paul Taylor: It's a great idea. Would you be able to get real people to play themselves in it?
Andy Warhol: I don't know. It might be good.
Paul Taylor: Do you have screenwriters here?
Andy Warhol: We just bought Tama Janowitz's book called Slaves of New York.
Paul Taylor: Does that mean you're going back into movie production?
Andy Warhol: We're trying. But actually what we're working on is our video show which MTV is buying.
Paul Taylor: Nothing Special?
Andy Warhol: No, it's called Andy Warhol's Fifteen Minutes. It was on Thursday last week and it's showing again Monday and it'll be shown two more times: December, and we're doing one for January.
Paul Taylor: Do you make them?
Andy Warhol: No, Vincent works on them. Vincent Fremont.
Paul Taylor: Do you look through the camera on these things at all.
Andy Warhol: No.
Paul Taylor: What's your role?
Andy Warhol: Just interviewing people.
Paul Taylor: If there was a movie made out of Stephen Koch's novel, what would be your role in it?
Andy Warhol: I don't know. I'd have to read it first.
Paul Taylor: It's not usual for business people to talk about these deals before they make them.
Andy Warhol: I don't care if anyone... there's always another book.
Paul Taylor: I saw Ileana [Sonnabend] today and asked her what I should ask you, and she said, "I don't know. For Andy everything is equal".
Andy Warhol: She's right.
Paul Taylor: How do you describe that point of view?
Andy Warhol: I don't know. If she said it she's right. [laughs]
Paul Taylor: It sounds zennish.
Andy Warhol: Zennish? What's that?
Paul Taylor: Like Zen.
Andy Warhol: Zennish. That's a good word. That's a good title for... my new book.
Paul Taylor: What about your transformation from being a commercial artist to a real artist.
Andy Warhol: I'm still a commercial artist. I was always a commercial artist.
Paul Taylor: Then what's a commercial artist?
Andy Warhol: I don't know - someone who sells art.
Paul Taylor: So almost all artists are commerical artists, just to varying degrees.
Andy Warhol: I think so.
Paul Taylor: Is a better commercial artist one who sells more work?
Andy Warhol: I don't know. When I started out, art was doing down the drain. The people who used to magazine illustrations and the covers were being replaced by photographers. And when they started using photographers, I started to show my work with galleries. Everybody also was doing window decoration. That led into more galleries. I had some paintings in a window, then in a gallery.
Paul Taylor: Is there a parallel situation now?
Andy Warhol: No, it just caught on so well that there's a new gallery open every day now.There are a lot more artists, which is real great.
Paul Taylor: What has happened to the idea of good art?
Andy Warhol: It's all good art.
Paul Taylor: Is that to say that it's all equal?
Andy Warhol: "Yeah well, I don't know, I can't...
Paul Taylor: You're not interested in making distinctions.
Andy Warhol: Well no, I just can't tell the difference. I don't see why one Jasper Johns sells for three million and one sells for, you know, like four hundred thousand. They were both good paintings
Paul Taylor: The market for your work has changed a little in the last few years. To people my age - in their twenties - you were always more important than to the collecting group of people in their fifties and sixties.
Andy Warhol: Well, I think the people who buy art now are these younger kids who have a lot of money.
Paul Taylor: And that's made a difference to your market.
Andy Warhol: Yeah, a little bit.
Paul Taylor: How important is it for you to maintain control?
Andy Warhol: I've been busy since I started - since I was a working artist. If I wasn't showing in New York I was doing work in Germany, or I was doing portraits.
Paul Taylor: What I mean is that as more and more artists come up, and as new galleries open every day, the whole idea of what an artist is changes. It's no longer so special, and maybe a more special artist is one who maintains more control of his or her work.
Andy Warhol: I don't know. It seems like every year there's one artist for that year. The people from twenty years ago are still around. I don't know why. The kids nowadays - there's just one a year. They stay around, they just don't...
Paul Taylor: You were identified with a few artists a couple of years ago - Kenny Scharf, Keith Haring.
Andy Warhol: We're still friends.
Paul Taylor: But I never see you with any of this season's flavors.
Andy Warhol: I don't know. they got so much press. It was great. I'm taking photographs now. I have a photography show at Robert Miller Gallery.
Paul Taylor: And there's going to be a retrospective of your films at the Whitney Museum.
Andy Warhol: Maybe, yes.
Paul Taylor: Are you excited about that?
Andy Warhol: No.
Paul Taylor: Why not?
Andy Warhol: They're better talked about than seen.
Paul Taylor: Your work as an artist has always been so varied, like Leonardo. You're a painter, a film maker, a publisher... Do you think that's what an artist is?
Andy Warhol: No.
Paul Taylor: Can you define an artist for me?
Andy Warhol: I think an artist is anybody who does something well, like if you cook well.
Paul Taylor: What do you think about all the younger artists now in New York who are using pop imagery?
Andy Warhol: Pretty good.
Paul Taylor: Is it the same as when it happened in the sixties?
Andy Warhol: No, they have different reasons to do things. All these kids are so intellectual.
Paul Taylor: Do you like the punk era?
Andy Warhol: Well, it's still around. I always think it's gone but it isn't. They still have their hard-rock nights at the Ritz. Do you ever go there?
Paul Taylor: No. But punk, like pop, might never go away.
Andy Warhol: I guess so.
Paul Taylor: How's Interview [the magazine] going?
Andy Warhol: It's not bad.
Paul Taylor: You're going to be audited soon for the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Andy Warhol: Yeah, they're doing it now.
Paul Taylor: What difference will it make?
Andy Warhol: I don't know.
Paul Taylor: It will be better for advertising...
Andy Warhol: Yeah.
Paul Taylor: What's the circulation now?
Andy Warhol: 170,000. The magazine's getting bigger and bigger.
Paul Taylor: What magazines do you read?
Andy Warhol: I just read everything.
Paul Taylor: You look at everything. Do you read the art magazines?
Andy Warhol: Yeah, I look at the pictures.
Paul Taylor: You've been in trouble for using someone else's image as far back as 1964. What do you think about the legal situation of appropriated imagery, and the copyright situation?
Andy Warhol: I don't know. It's just like a Coca Cola bottle - when you buy it, you always think that it's yours and you can do whatever you like with it. Now it's sort of different because you pay a deposit on the bottle. We're having the same problem now with the John Wayne pictures. I don't want to get involved, it's too much trouble. I think that you buy a magazine, you pay for it, it's yours. I don't get mad when people take my things.
Paul Taylor: You don't do anything about it?
Andy Warhol: No. It got a little crazy when people were turning out paintings and signing my name.
Paul Taylor: What did you think about that?
Andy Warhol: Signing my name to it was wrong but other than that I don't care.
Paul Taylor: The whole appropriation epidemic comes down to who is responsible for for art. If indeed anyone can manufacture the pictures of those flowers, the whole idea of the artist gets lost somewhere in the process.
Andy Warhol: Is that good or bad?
Paul Taylor: Well, first of all, do you agree with me?
Andy Warhol: Yes, if they take my name away. But when I used the flowers, the original photograph was huge and I just used one square inch of the photo and magnified it.
Paul Taylor: What do you ever see that makes you stop in your tracks?
Andy Warhol: A good display in a window... I don't know, a good-looking face.
Paul Taylor: What's the feeling when you see a good window display or a good face.
Andy Warhol: You just take longer to look at it. I went to China, I didn't want to go, and I went to see the Great Wall. You know, you read about it for years. And actually it was great. It was really, really, really great.
Paul Taylor: Have you been working out lately?
Andy Warhol: I just did it.
Paul Taylor: How much are you lifting now?
Andy Warhol: 105 pounds.
Paul Taylor: On the benchpress? That's strong.
Andy Warhol: No it's light. You're stronger than me, and fitter and handsomer and younger, and you wear better clothes.
Paul Taylor: Did you enjoy the opening party thrown by GFT at the Tunnel?
Andy Warhol: I had already been there before.
Paul Taylor: In the sixties you mean?
Andy Warhol: [laughs] No - the manager or someone took me around it a few days ago.
Paul Taylor: It's a very convenient club for the Bridge and Tunnel people - they'll be able to come in on those tracks from New Jersey.
Andy Warhol: I don't know whether it was my idea to call it the Tunnel or whether it was someone else's idea that I liked, but I think it's a good name.
Paul Taylor: And lots of people turned out for Claes Oldenburg's show that night.
Andy Warhol: He looked happy. A lot of people said he looked happy. I always liked Claes actually. You looked great the other night. I took lots of photos of you in your new jacket.
Paul Taylor: Yes? How did I turn out.
Andy Warhol: They haven't come back yet. Next time you come by I'll take some close-ups.
Paul Taylor: For the Upfront section of Interview perhaps? Except that I'm not accomplished enough.
Andy Warhol: You could sleep with the publisher.
Paul Taylor: If you were starting out now, would you do anything differently?
Andy Warhol: I don't know. I just worked hard. It's all fantasy.
Paul Taylor: Life is fantasy?
Andy Warhol: Yeah, it is.
Paul Taylor: What's real?
Andy Warhol: Don't know.
Paul Taylor: Some people would.
Andy Warhol: Would they?
Paul Taylor: Do you really believe it, or or tomorrow will you say the opposite?
Andy Warhol: I don't know. I like this idea that you can say the opposite.
Paul Taylor: But you wouldn't in this case?
Andy Warhol: No.
Paul Taylor: Is there any connection between fantasy and religious feeling?
Andy Warhol: Maybe. I don't know. Church is a fun place to go.
Paul Taylor: Do you go to Italy very often?
Andy Warhol: You know we used to make our films there.
Paul Taylor: And didn't you have a studio in the country for a while?
Andy Warhol: Outside of Rome.
Paul Taylor: And did you you go to the Vatican?
Andy Warhol: We passed by it every day.
Paul Taylor: I remember a polaroid you took of the Pope.
Andy Warhol: Yeah.
Paul Taylor: Did you take that from very close up?
Andy Warhol: Yes. He walked past us.
Paul Taylor: Andy he blessed you?
Andy Warhol: I have a photo of him shaking Fred Hughes's hand. Someone wanted us to make a portrait of the Pope and they've been trying to get us together but we can't and by now the Pope has changed three times.
Paul Taylor: Fred said he used to feel like the Pope in the old Factory in Union Square. He used to go out on that balcony and wave at the passing masses underneath.
Andy Warhol: He has a balcony now.
Paul Taylor: Yes, but from the current Factory he can only see the reception area.
Andy Warhol: He can wave.
Paul Taylor: And sometimes it's just as busy as Union Square too.