[Dr. DJ continues this 10-part series. In Episode #11. Dr. DJ will explain
who he believes should be the receiver of the WWW Artist award.]
“Before I was shot, I always thought that I was more half-there than all-there – I always suspected that I was watching TV instead of living life. People sometimes say that the way things happen in movies is unreal, but actually it’s the way things happen in life that’s unreal. The movies make emotions look so strong and real, whereas when things really do happen to you, it’s like watching television – you don’t feel anything. Right when I was being shot and ever since, I knew that I was watching television. The channels switch, but it’s all television.”
― Andy Warhol
Andy’s Life and Death
I dare to think that being shot was Andy’s come to Jesus moment. It made him do a fast life review but at the same time, he overemphasized a common psychological response to trauma, which is self-protective detachment device. People dying and coming back say, “I was watching myself on the operating table from up on the ceiling somewhere.” People who have been raped often relate how they either blacked out or as one client say, I was being molested in the front seat of the car, but I felt like it was not me. I was watching from the backseat of the car.” A psychotherapist might say that Andy gave his post-shot experience too much importance, letting him become convinced that detachment from life was normal.
Many things Andy said bear this out:
“People should fall in love with their eyes closed. Just close your eyes. Don’t look and it’s magic.”
“When I got my first television set, I stopped caring so much about having close relationships.”
“People sometimes say the way things happen in the movies is unreal, but actually, it’s the way things happen to you in life that’s unreal.”
Andrew Warhola was born in Pittsburg in 1928. And died at 58 of cardiac arrest after what appeared to be a successful gall bladder surgery in New York Hospital in 1987. Of Slovakian descent, his mother – a talented artist in her own right – captured Andy’s interest in drawing to occupy him while he was bed-ridden for months with Chorea…or “St. Vitus Dance” while sick in bed. He was eight. Although he never stopped drawing, he also became fascinated with photography, the vehicle that bore him to fame. He continued photography, and movie-making until his untimely death.
““I’m not afraid to die; I just don’t want to be there when it happens”
Andy and Art – The King of Pop Art
There is no argument that Andy Warhol – nearly single-handedly – birthed the Pop Art Movement. He found a need to express his artistry by painting and photographing, then silk-screening (in huge batches which he signed individually), popular commonplace items, such as Campbell’s Soup containers, Coca Cola, bananas, ketchup, Brillo pad boxes and celebrities of the day, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Mick Jagger, and one of his favorite subjects, Andrew Warhola.
The essence of much of his work was his love of commercialization. His big start began as a graphic artist with Glamour Magazine where he became the most famous commercial artist in the 50’s. One of Warhol’s inspirations was that people among every social class purchase the same commercial goods and follow the same celebrities. He found beauty in this unity of commercialization and it inspired his career.
10 Things many do not know about Andy Warhol
- Andy was painfully shy. He stated once that although being a party goer, he would prefer sitting alone and watching a television feed of the party.
Picture taken by the famous photographer, Gianfranco Gorgoni.
- A dog Andy loved dearly was a stuffed Great Dane. “Cecil” was stuffed in 1930 and purchased by Andy in the late 1960s. Warhol paid $300, believing an antiques dealer who claimed that the dog had been owned by Cecil B. DeMille. Cecil was indeed a champion dog, but his owner was a complete nobody, and he had been stuffed as part of a Dog Hall of Fame at Yale University’s Peabody Museum, which closed in 1964. It’s estimated that the antiques dealer made about $290 profit on the sale.
- Andy was not only the King of Pop Art; he was also King Pack Rat. Starting in 1974 and continuing through 1987, Andy would toss this and that into corrugated cardboard boxes — things he bought, things he was given, things he got for free, and things he “borrowed” from hotels. He called this collection of cardboard boxes “time capsules.”
Armed with a $650,000 grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Andy Warhol Museum is embarking on an effort to photograph, digitally scan, catalog and preserve the contents of hundreds of capsules. They’ve already opened and begun to inventory 100, and have 472 more to go, a project that should take six years. Couple of novel collected items: uneaten pizza crusts, dead bugs, hundreds of receipts, squeezed tubes of face cream, and grocery store fliers.
- Andy was a virgin. He is widely believed to have been a gay man, and his art was often infused with homoerotic imagery and motifs. However, he claimed that he remained a virgin for his entire life.
- Andy’s drug of choice was Obetrol, an amphetamine diet pill of the era that served as a predecessor to Adderall. The stimulant, which is like speed, became a daily ritual for Andy, most likely fueling his frenetic artwork as his career progressed.
- Andy’s net worth at the time of his death, adjusting for inflation, was $220,000,000.
- His nickname was “Drella” a combination of Dracula and Cinderella, as it was felt it reflected his aggressive/passive natures.
- He used not only his own urine but that of friends to oxidize his painting in different colors caused by the chemical variances in the makeup of the urine samples. One of these paintings sold for over $2,000,000. [The puns abound in my mind.]
- Truman Capote, famed writer, was so admired by Warhol, that Capote accused him of stalking him…then proclaimed that Andy was “One of those hopeless people that you just know nothing’s ever going to happen to. Just a hopeless, born loser, the loneliest, most friendless person I’d ever seen in my life.”
10. Andy was shot in 1968 and died 20 years later. In 1968 a radical feminist by the name of Valerie Solanas, shot Warhol (as well as art critic Mario Amaya) at the Factory – Andy’s studio. Warhol fought for his life for two months in the hospital, recovering from a chest wound. Solanas was a radical feminist author diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia who advocated overthrowing the government and eliminating men. She was angry at the level of control she felt Warhol had over her life, so she shot him. Nearly two decades later, Warhol died in 1987 of a heart attack after a gallbladder surgery, possibly due to complications from the gunshot wound.
“Bullets in the stomach rearrange one’s life-plans.” Andy stated, referring to the 1968 incident.
Andy Warhol’s advice to artists
“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”
Last words from Andy:
Being an Immoralist myself, one of my favorite Warhol quotes is:
“I’m not afraid to die; I just don’t want to be there when it happens”
Who will be in WWW #3??? Wait and see!!!