101: RICHARD AVEDON, Andy Warhol and members of The Fac
Andy Warhol and members of The Factory, New York, October 30, 1969. Three gelatin silver prints, hinged together as one panorama, printed 1975. Each 8 x 10 in (20.3 x 25.4 cm); 8 x 30 in (20.3 x 76.2 cm) overall Signed, numbered 1/50 in ink, title and date stamps on the verso.
PROVENANCE From the Collection of Laura Kanelous, Avedon's business manager and good friend
LITERATURE Avedone, An Autobiography: Richard Avedon, p. 31 Harry N. Abrams, Richard Avedon: Portraits, p. 29 Holm, Richard Avedon: Photographs 1946-2004, pp. 16-17 Random House, Avedon: The Sixties, pp. 78-83 Random House, Richard Avedon: Evidence 1944-1994, pp. 74-75 and p. 151-
From left to right, subjects include: Paul Morrissey, director; Joe D’Allesandro, actor; Candy Darling, actress; Eric Emerson, actor; Jay Johnson, actor; Tom Hempertz, actor; Gerard Malanga, poet; Viva, actress; Paul Morrissey; Taylor Mead, actor; Brigid Polk, actress; Joe D’Allesandro; Andy Warhol, artist. By the early 1960s, Richard Avedon had secured his place in the pantheon of top American photographers, capturing with equal discernment and dignity the reigning supermodels, musicians, Civil Rights Movement leaders and everyday people. Adopting the 1960s mantra of acceptance and love, Avedon was meticulous in his treatment of each subject with respect and psychological insight, creating portraits that transcend mere representation in their astute portrayal of character and energy. In Andy Warhol and members of The Factory, Avedon successfully captured the strong subversive appeal of the group. Warhol had reached superstardom by the late 1960s, positioning himself at the center of the Pop Culture movement that would come to define the decade. With a background in advertising and graphic design, Warhol’s art was at once critical and celebratory of the commercialization of cultural icons, presenting some of the leading American celebrities as emblems of American consumerism, not unlike bottles of Coca-Cola and Campbell’s soup cans. As his popularity and influence grew throughout the 1960s, Warhol’s studio on 231 East 47th street became the hub of production where Warhol and his assistants would create the silkscreened canvases in an assembly-line style, gaining the name The Factory. Additionally, the studio became the center for socialization for many of the art world’s characters, most notably Warhol’s coterie of Superstars, comprised of budding musicians, dancers, poets and actors some of whom are featured in the current lot. At first, the panoramic portrait appears straightforward—an alignment of members belonging to the same artistic group. A careful examination, however, yields a different view. The most notable feature is the lack of any hierarchical order. Indeed, the most pivotal member of the group, Warhol, is relegated to the very far right edge, partially cropped out of the overall frame. Instead, the centrality of the image is occupied by three male nudes, a risqué subject in 1960s media. Additionally, the nude subjects are all surrounded by their clothes, which subtly removes them from the romanticized realm of classical nudes and anchors them back to contemporary culture. Among the nudes, seen on the left panel, is Andy Warhol superstar Candy Darling (born James Lawrence Slattery), a bombshell transgendered starlet who had starred in Warhol’s cult movie Flesh in 1968, thus becoming one of the earliest transgendered icons in pop culture. Her full-frontal stance is non-apologetic but not defensive, either. She is presented as naturally as her peers. That Darling’s right arm is double-exposed quickly reveals the constructed nature of the scene, for three other figures—Joe D’Allessandro, Paul Morrissey and Gerard Malanga, each make a double-appearance throughout the portrait. By doing so, Avedon pays homage to Warhol’s distinct technique of repetitively silkscreening the same image—be it of Elvis, Liz Taylor or Marilyn Monroe—as a comment on the mass commercial appeal of celebrities. Additionally, Avedon’s double portrayal of some of the figures is a double-take on literal and metaphoric levels, hinting at the freedom in ambiguity for which Warhol and the Factory had gained fame. As this print is number 1 from the edition of 50, it is presumed to be the earliest printing of this image.
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