Andy Warhol’s TV

Throughout his life, Andy Warhol mastered many media: painting, sculpture, filmmaking, fashion, and, as editor of the celebrity monthly Interview, magazine publishing. A new retrospective of his work at the Hayward Gallery in London which brings together for the first time all 42 television episodes he ever made suggests that, when it came to the delicate art of chat-show hosting, this shy, peculiar-looking man from Pittsburgh wasn’t exactly a natural.

“I love television,” he once said. “It is the medium I’d most like to shine in. A less ambitious man would have drawn a line under his fledgling television career at this point, but  convinced that only TV could give him the degree of worldwide celebrity he desired  Warhol refused to be discouraged.

“Andy Warhol’s TV” was conceived as a televisual companion to Interview magazine, and featured rapidly interwoven interviews with the great, the good, and anyone else Warhol happened to take a shine to. An intoxicating array of stars  from Grace Jones, Debbie Harry, and Paloma Picasso to Cindy Sherman, Philip Glass, and Keith Haring all passed before the camera.

In the episode you’re about to see, Bianca Jagger interviews the 34-year-old Steven Spielberg on a hotel bed while Warhol perches on the end. Ms. Jagger coaxes some nice anecdotes out of the hotshot director. For example,  “I can remember the day my father brought home a transistor and said, ‘Son, this is the future.’ So I put it in my mouth and swallowed it.” Warhol takes a typically lighter approach. “The people in your movies are all so real,” he enthuses, before spiking his praise with a rare dash of irony, “but they’re good-looking, too, which is nice.”

NY Sun

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~ by eaesthete on 01/08/09.

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