Saturday, January 27, 2007

And now Andy says that Victor is paranoid... I believe he may be referring to Victor Hugo. Not to keep running with Andy's paranoia, but it's interesting that he is able to notice it in others. Based on the account, however, Victor sounded a bit off that day. Or maybe he was just another New Yorker having a bad day? So much for stereotypes, I can see some NYers reading this post with distaste.

Andy mentioned the Cars video that was shot in his studio. What's cool today is that the video is available in Youtube. And he's right, it looks really good:
Hello Again, by the Cars. Lots of nipples in the video though. I cant' remember how MTV dealt with that. If I remember correctly, they played it late at night, along with Michael Jackson's Thriller (even three years after Michael's video was released).


Friday, January 26, 2007

Hmmm... After reading many diary entries by Andy, I'm beginning to think that he was a bit paranoid. It might be understandable after having been shot by Valerie Solanis, but that was sometime before 1986. Then again, getting shot is probably hard to get over. But he definitely sounds paranoid when he talks about his own dinner party being cancelled and then running into the people who are supposed to attend his dinner in another place. And I'm not sure why Fred would lie to Andy about the dinner. Then again, the diary only offers limited insight into Andy's life.

When I did a search on Andy and Paranoia, all I got were hits about Solanis and the shooting incident. This one, from the webiste From Revolution to Reconstruction, comments on Andy's psyche after the shooting, as well as Andy's relationship to the Velvet Underground:

By the spring of 67 the Velvets were outgrowing their association with Warhol. The EPI had become a means to avoid working on new songs and, despite the Warhol connection, the album was selling poorly. The art connection also meant that the Velvets were failing to reach a rock & roll audience. After the album was released the Velvets played some shows on the west coast, but the reviews were not good. The Velvet were called an amphetamine band, which had no good reputation outside New York. The flower children in San Francisco saw the Velvets as the destroyers of the innocence in the music that was going on there. They were the urban and corrupt evil from New York that would destroy the beauty in the Californian music. The Velvet Underground got tired of working with Nico on stage and Reed felt that Warhol had now made his grand rock`n`roll gesture. The Velvet Underground decided to stop working with both Nico and Andy Warhol. Nico started a solo career. Andy Warhol got shot right after the Velvets split with him, but survived. This episode changed his life so much, and he started to get even more paranoid than before. The Velvet Underground went on tour and planned their second album which they would call White Light/Big City.

As to Andy's claims that Larry Gagosian was weird...

In the Fray—Artless Dodgers: Everyone Pays for Dealers' Tax Scams
By Andre Emmerich

New York—Scandals sell newspapers. So do the doings of the rich. As for art, many are baffled by it, and most especially so when it becomes very expensive. Hans Christian Andersen's fable about the emperor who wears no clothes is still widely believed to apply to much of what is known as "the art world." When you add to this heady brew accusations of wrongdoing, it becomes the irresistible stuff of rumor, gossip and juicy copy. It also draws the attention of prosecutors, who are always interested in cases that have the potential of career-building headlines.

That is one set of reasons why the current sales-tax scandals involving millionaire collectors shipping empty crates to out-of-state addresses have gotten and will continue to get public attention beyond their actual merits. Earlier this month, ImClone Systems Inc. founder Samuel Waksal pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy in connection with evading tax on $15 million of contemporary art he had purchased from Manhattan dealer Larry Gagosian. Ex-Tyco International Ltd. CEO L. Dennis Kozlowski was indicted on a similar charge last year.

And last week it was reported that the government is suing Mr. Gagosian and a group of investors in federal court in New York for $26.5 million, accusing them of trading artworks through a holding company set up to avoid paying sales taxes. Just as the exposure of price fixing by Christie's and Sotheby's drew media attention far beyond its financial importance, so these events are receiving and will continue to receive intense public attention. Had either the auction houses or Mr. Gagosian dealt in plumbing supplies rather than art, their stories might never have made it to the 6 o'clock news.

To be sure, the art world has its share of dubious characters with questionable ethics. Almost 30 years ago Frank Lloyd, owner of the Marlborough Gallery, which handled the estate of Abstract Expressionist painter Mark Rothko, was convicted of enriching himself at the expense of Rothko's heirs.

One should also keep in mind that Andy just had his partner Jon Gould die of AIDS, and then Martin Burgoyne's fight against AIDS was ever present at this time.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

So... I googled for "French Intellectualism" and this is the first hit I got from the Jerusalem Center of Public Affairs:

Fifty Years of French Intellectual Bias against Israel
An Interview with Simon Epstein

In recent years France has stood out negatively, not only because of its many violent assaults on Jews and their institutions but also due to the often anti-Semitic intellectual and media attacks on Israel. Simon Epstein, researcher at the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of anti-Semitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, points out that the origins of French intellectual anti-Israelism date back almost to the creation of the Jewish state. To gain a perspective on present problems, one must have a better understanding of its historical development.

I was actually looking for the "lifestyle" of the French intellectual. so I performed another search, and I still got the same website quoted above at the top of the first page, followed by another from the blog The Key Monk:

But, finally, the most important reason American leftists love France is that French elites say bad things about America. French intellectuals call us racist, stupid, imperialistic, simplistic, etc. — and that alone is proof of their intellectualism. So long as you call America "racist," you could add that an enema is as good as a toothbrush and some professor of "communications theory" would applaud.

And you gotta love the Guardian, here's their scoop on French Intellectualism:

Orwell's stance reveals the discomfort that French intellectualism has traditionally provoked this side of the Channel. On the one hand he is dismissive of the obfuscation, on the other slightly intimidated by the possibility that, underneath all the Gallic verbosity, there might just be something to it. Ideas make the British nervous, while in contrast the French appear all too ready to promote them beyond the niggling restraints of reality. There is a story, which may not be apocryphal, that during a high-level meeting between American and French civil servants, the French responded to an American initiative by saying: 'We can see that it works in practice. But will it work in theory?'

If anything, French Intellectualism may not be as "glamorous" today, as Andy made it out to back in 1986. Or it may be that Google has chosen to expose certain aspects of French Intellectuals over others. How's that for a "democratic" algorithm that they dare not share with the open source community?


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Andy's post of October 13, 1986 begins with the preoccupation of his friend dying, and ends with a speculation about security companies having control to trigger alarms. I believe both of these observations are defined by the same anxiety, that of losing control over one's life.

The post begins with his friend Martin Martin Burgoyne's slow and agonizing fight against AIDS. The idea of looking at oneself dying through the media is exposed here: the human subject has reached a now obvious and-not-worth-mentioning reading about one individuality in the papers, as a subject of entertainment, as a subject of sacrificial death for others to ruminate over, and (in a best case sceniario) reflect upon; in this case, media consumers could consider what AIDS could really be (at this time it was still being defined) as they go about their own lives. As it can be imagined, this can be a devastating experience. Something we can contemplate with great respect for those who have lived it because media consumers are part of the mediated reality that allowed Martin to consider his inevitable encounter with death; What makes such process hard is that, based on Andy's observation, Martin knew that his life was becoming a spectacle in the media--especially because he was such good friends with Madonna. Here's a snippet from Gay Today about Martin's relationship with Madonna:

The story of Madonna's involvement with the disease begins soon after she left her native Michigan and moved to New York City in 1978. She was only nineteen at the time and had little in the way of financial resources, as her father was unhappy with her decision to drop out of college before she earned her degree. So she was on her own.

Soon after arriving in the Big Apple, she met up with another teenager named Martin Burgoyne who was in a similar position. The gay designer, like Madonna, had plenty of talent but no money.


During the next few years, not only did Madonna begin to rise to stardom but AIDS emerged as the deadliest sexually transmitted disease in history. She began performing in New York clubs in 1981; the first cases were reported that same year.

People became so frightened that they refused even to be in the same room with an AIDS patient, and an activity as intimate as kissing a person with the condition was absolutely unthinkable, as the medical community was still uncertain about whether the HIV virus could be spread through saliva.

It was in this climate of mass fear that Madonna's friend Martin Burgoyne told her that he had AIDS.


"I cried like a baby when Martin told me," one newspaper story quoted her as saying. "I still cry when I think about it."

But, in her next breath, she went on to insist that-fear and stigma be damned-friends of AIDS patients should stand by them.

"I'll stick by Martin no matter what happens," she told the newspaper. "He was there for me when I needed him, and I'm going to be there for him now that he needs me."

And then Andy ends with his preoccupation about his security company having control over his alarm. This can be read as an indirect reflection on Martin's loss of control of his own life; triggering the alarm could be equated to triggering the AIDS virus, as Andy stated: "The alarm went off and I'd like to know if they can trigger it off from where they are, the alarm company."


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Oooohhh! Andy was a valium addict! I honestly don't know the meaning of that. I mean Valium is a popular drug to be addicted to, but it appears to be a type of "benign" addiction, when considering other drugs, no? Let's see:

Valium Addiction, Treatment and Withdrawal
Valium is a benzodiazepine class of drug, with sedative, hypnotic, anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, amnestic and muscle relaxant properties. Valium was first introduced in 1963 and is currently avaialble as diazepam. The drug was a modification of the first benzodiazepine, librium, and today is used in the treatment of anxiety. Valium has totally replaced the barbiturates as the drug of choice for decreasing anxiety. Valium has a relatively lower abuse potential and relatively fewer adverse reactions.

Valium is considered a minor tranquilizer. For the past 40 years, valium has been most often used for the short-term relief of moderate-severe, disabling anxiety or insomnia. Long-term use can be associated with the development of tolerance, physiological and psychological dependency. Valium is believed to interact with the GABA receptor; GABAA; the activation of which decreases neuronal activity.

Hmm, I see why Andy took it. He had trouble sleeping. I, personally, worry about memory loss, so that would keep me away froma valium.

I did find an interesting take on "drug addiction," the answer to the following comment, in particular, sounds a bit theoretical to me, but hey, it's only an argument, right? Here's the scoop:

Dear Stanton:

I was disappointed in your web site. I combed through it but not a word on the most harmful and troublesome drugs, benzodiazepines. It is well known that benzo withdrawal is as bad as heroin but more prolonged in about 40% of long term users. It is far worse than alcohol or tobacco withdrawal and yet no mention on your site? Now why might that be? I'd like to hear from you on this.

In case you would like some information on it from the worlds expert Heather Ashton who ran a benzo detox clinic for 12 years in London, here is here new manual just released to the world a couple of months ago.


Dear Rand:

The underlying message in my work is that it is not possible to divide the world into "addictive" and "nonaddictive" drugs. Rather, it depends on the individual's relationship to the substance. I have often discussed benzodiazepine addictions in regards to America's most popular tranquilizer, Valium. (Search my site.) In this footnote to my article with Rich DeGrandpre, "Cocaine and the concept of addiction," I describe some prominent examples of Valium addicts, including an example of one TV personality who was addicted to both cocaine and valium:

Benzodiazepine and caffeine addictions are often faceless, since this drug use is so readily accepted in our society and all of us know many nonaddicted users. When personal accounts of severe and problematic addiction were reported for tranquilizers in several first-person best sellers such as Barbara Gordon's I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can and Betty Ford's The Times of My Life, industry spokespeople pointed out that these cases were quite unusual. Indeed they are, as are cases of cocaine addiction. Nonetheless, it strikes most people as ludicrous to speak of tranquilizer and cocaine addiction in the same breath. One person for whom this is not the case is New York television newscaster Jim Jensen, who reported readily giving up a cocaine habit in treatment but being unable to shake his valium dependence: "Valium withdrawal soon plunged him into a massive depression that left him unable to eat or sleep. It took two more months in two hospitals for him to regain his mental and physical health" (Jensen, 1989, p. 67).

Ref.: Jensen, J. (1989, September 4). A veteran TV anchorman's toughest story was his own — he had to beat drugs and depression. People, pp. 67-73.



Monday, January 22, 2007

Andy should be very happy to know that New York Magazine gives him credit for being a major player in Sprouse's early career:

In May 1984, when Sprouse showed his latest collection at the Ritz, a former club downtown, 2,500 people attended, including Andy Warhol. He loved Sprouse’s sixties-inspired clothes and afterward traded two portraits for the whole collection. “Sprouse was definitely one of Andy’s ‘children,’ ” says Benjamin Liu, who worked as Warhol’s assistant. “So much of what Andy was brilliantly known for—the neon colors, the Pop imagery, the association with musicians—Stephen brought into his own work.”

Warhol, in turn, brought Sprouse into his life, inviting him for dinners at Odeon or Indochine that would lead to after-dinner excursions to Area, at the time the city’s hottest club. Like the Mudd Club, from which it evolved, Area had changing monthly “themes,” with various people creating installations. Doonan recalls seeing one Sprouse designed, in which a “guy in silver jeans, in an all-silver room, watched one of Stephen’s shows on a silver TV.”

And who would not want to be the thing itself:

Paige Powell, a close friend of Sprouse's, remembers first meeting him in the early 1980s at Andy Warhol's Factory, which was also home to Interview. "Stephen would come up and have lunch," she recalls. "He was extremely shy, but he constantly provided Andy with energy. He was just so rock 'n' roll."

I just find it amazing that Andy was able to "pose" normal even when John Gould, who was very close to him, died. It does take some strength to call up Pat in the morning to wrap the previous day in the spirit of business as usual. I also find it interesting that "the diary" chose to write itself in such detached fashion: [NOTE: Jon Gould died on September 18 at age thirty-three after "an extended illness." He was down to seventy pounds and he was blind. He denied even to close friend that he had AIDS.]

One thing that becomes obvious when reading Andy's diaries is that he was far from being a machine, here's a comparison between Warhol and Chaplin. It's not about being or not being, but about considering a position, maybe:

CHARLIE CHAPLIN AND ANDY WARHOL BOTH CONTEMPLATED the machine and came to the same conclusion: Its effects were dehumanizing. But where Chaplin issued a de facto warning about the mechanization of life in his art, Warhol fell madly in love with the idea. For Warhol, it was man who paled in comparison to the machine, not the other way around.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

So, Andy cites a book by Tony Zanetta in which Bowie is presented as a copy-cat. Funny thing is that Bowie portrayed Andy in schnabel's Basquiat film. And Bowie impersonates him so well, I think. But the movie was terrible, or so everyone in the artworld likes to claim. I did find it problematic because of the script itself. Here's a mockery of the starving artist myth:

Everybody wants to get on the Van Gogh boat. There's no trip so horrible that someone won't take it. The idea of the unrecognized genius slaving away in a garret is a deliciously foolish one. We must credit the life of Vincent Van Gogh for really sending this myth into orbit. How many pictures did he sell? One? He couldn't give them away. We are so ashamed of his life that the rest of art history will be retribution for Van Gogh's neglect. No one wants to be part of a generation that ignores another Van Gogh.

The script is full of statements like the one above. But in the film, Bowie does appear to love playing Andy. That makes the film worth seeing in my opinion. Andy becomes one more of Bowie's stage personas.


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