Series Features Warhol’s Experimental Films from the Early 1960s
In conjunction with the exhibition ANDY WARHOL/SUPERNOVA: Stars, Deaths, and Disasters, 1962–1964, the Walker Art Center presents
Andy Warhol: Factory Films
from January 19–26. The series presents seven of Warhol’s films inspired by the characters that frequented his loft studio, which he called “The Factory,” including Kiss (January 19), which shows scenes of people kissing for extended lengths of time; Harlot (January 22), Warhol’s first sound film and starring drag queen Mario Montez; and Haircut (No. 1) (January 26), featuring four men receiving haircuts. Free gallery tours of the SUPERNOVA exhibition precede each of the screenings.
Andy Warhol’s first experiments in cinema reflect his verve. Inspired by the underground films of Jack Smith, Ron Rice, and Taylor Mead, in 1963 Warhol made 16mm works that often tested viewers’ endurance by celebrating ordinary actions: sleeping, kissing, eating. Bordering on surveillance—and mixed with a sense of voyeurism—these early film portraits were shot without sound, using a static camera.
As his technical skill improved, Warhol started to emulate Hollywood in his use of cinematic language and by creating his own studio system. He developed a stable of stars from the artists, socialites, and hustlers who hung out at his loft. He often placed his actors in front of the camera and let it roll while they improvised on a theme. Complementing the exhibition ANDY WARHOL/SUPERNOVA: Stars, Deaths, and Disasters, 1962–1964, on view through February 26, these films from the early 1960s are at times hilarious, inspired, tedious, and audacious.
All films are directed by Andy Warhol. Unless otherwise noted, screenings are held in the Lecture Room. Free SUPERNOVA exhibition tours meet in the Bazinet Garden Lobby.
Except where noted, tickets are $8 ($6 Walker members). Tickets are available at walkerart.org/tickets or by calling 612.375.7600.
ANDY WARHOL: FACTORY FILMS
Thursday, January 19
SUPERNOVA Tour, 6 pm
Sleep, 7:30 pm FREE
Warhol framed this intimate image of somnambulist John Giorno as if he’s gazing at his lover sharing the bed. The artist shot nearly 1,000 three-minute rolls of film, but chose to loop only a select few for this excerpt of his 5-hour, 21-minute complete version. 1963, U.S., BW, silent, 16mm,
In opposition to mandates that forbade Hollywood films to show kisses of more than three seconds, Warhol’s cinematic pairings, including some same-sex couples, last three minutes each. 1963, U.S., BW, silent, 16mm, 58 minutes.
Friday, January 20
SUPERNOVA Tour, 6 pm
Couch, 7:30 pm
A giant red couch was the gathering point of Warhol’s 47th Street Factory, which he moved into in January 1963. It serves as the set for this series of improvised sexual adventures featuring Gerard Malanga, Allen Ginsberg, Amy Taubin, Ondine, and others. 1964, U.S., BW, silent, 16mm, 40 minutes.
Viewed as a pioneering homoerotic work, Blow Job was described by Whitney Museum curator Callie Angell as “a nearly perfect piece of pornographic wit.” The camera never leaves the face and upper torso of actor DeVern Bookwalter, leaving the title and his facial gestures to imply the action. 1963, U.S., BW, silent, 16mm, 35 minutes. Mature subject matter. Viewer discretion is advised.
Sunday, January 22
SUPERNOVA Tours, 12 noon and 2 pm
Harlot, 3 pm
Warhol’s first sound film stars drag queen Mario Montez, who had previously appeared in the underground films of Jack Smith, Ron Rice, and Hélio Oiticica, conversing with off-camera Ronnie Tavel. Like the women in Couch, Montez devours a mountain of bananas as the action unfolds. 1964, U.S., BW, sound, 16mm, 70 minutes.
Thursday, January 26
SUPERNOVA Tour, 6:30 pm
Haircut (No. 1), 7:30 pm FREE
Incorporating multiple camera angles, Warhol filmed shirtless James Waring, Billy Name, John Daley, and Freddy Herko getting haircuts at Waring’s loft. 1963, U.S., BW, 16mm, 33 minutes.
Warhol plays off the themes of artist Robert Indiana’s 1960s Eat pieces. Shot in slow motion with a camera stabilized on a tripod and edited with some looping and freeze frames, the film shows Indiana lethargically nibbling on a mushroom. 1963, U.S., BW, silent, 16mm, 39 minutes.