Billy Name Helped Create the Andy Warhol We Admire

THE DAILY PIC: Name, who died on Monday, pulled Warhol into the underground.

THE DAILY PIC (#1595): I’m posting this image of Andy Warhol in honor of Billy Name, who took the photo and helped make the great man in it. (It’s from Name’s book called The Silver Age that I wrote about last year.)

Billy died on Monday, and will be mourned by all who had the luck to meet him. Researching the biography I’m writing on Warhol, Billy once invited me to spend an “hour or so” with him at his place in Poughkeepsie – an hour that, as usual with him, turned into the best part of a day. He was one of the most generous, most thoughtful of Warholians.

He was also one of the very most important ones – but not, as is usually said, for his role as major duomo at the 47th Street Factory, or for having papered the place silver. His importance predates the Factory by a few years. Andy and he met when Billy was working as a waiter and then cook at Serendipity 3, a gloriously camp café and dessert spot that catered to a certain part of the gay creative class, which in the 1950s and early 1960s included Warhol, big time.

Billy’s great contribution to Warholiana was to help draw Andy out of that more genteel scene and into the darker, more radical, more underground world of New York’s downtown avant-garde, where Billy was already established as a regular. Warhol, Sphinx of 47th Street, might never have existed without Billy Name as his guide to the underworld. (Image ©Billy Name)

Now both have crossed the Styx.

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