Andy Warhol’s Friends Reveal Little Known Facts On Eve of New Documentary

Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait in Fright Wig (1986).
Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait in Fright Wig (1986). Photo: The Andy Warhol Foundation

In anticipation of the BBC’s upcoming documentary A Day in the Life of Andy Warhol, the Guardian spoke to several of his friends and acquaintances in order to get a rare glimpse into the reality of the elusive artist. Warhol and the Factory have become so legendary that it’s hard to believe there might be anything at this point that we don’t know, but pals like Victor Bockris and Jane Holzer, who shared some little-known facts about the godfather of Pop Art, made us think otherwise.

Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick circa 1965. Photo: Steve Schapiro/Corbis

Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick circa 1965.
Photo: Steve Schapiro/Corbis

      • “Andy worked out. He went to the gym and lifted weights,” reveals Victor Bockris, a former employee of Warhol’s who worked in the Factory in the 1970s. It cuts a strikingly different image of Warhol than we’re used to, but according to Bockris (and many others), a lot of Warhol’s persona was just that—a persona. “What did all Americans immediately get? Cartoons, comic strips. So Andy became a cartoon, the Donald Duck of art.”
      • What did Andy like to shop for? “Jewels, darling. He adored jewels,” shares Jane Holzer, a former Factory fixture and art collector.
      • Joseph Freeman, who began attending parties at the Factory at just 13 years old, recalls: “I was a dork and the dorky thing back then was taping. I saw Andy on the cover of my favourite hi-fi magazine and I knew I had to meet him.” He soon became one of Warhol’s assistants, primarily in charge of waking him up in the mornings.
      • If Freeman would call Warhol on Sundays, however, they would just chat on the phone—another one of Warhol’s favorite pastimes. “He’d talk for hours. We’d say: ‘What are you doing, Andy?’ and he’d say: ‘Oh, I’m sucking cock.’ I mean, we fell about…he just seemed to understand what would make teenage boys kill themselves laughing.”

A Day in the Life of Andy Warhol, presented by Stephen Smith, is on BBC4 on 25 August as part of the series BBC4 Goes Pop.

Steve Shapiro, Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground, Los Angeles, California, 1966. Courtesy of the A. Gallery, Paris and the Centre Pompidou-Metz.

Steve Shapiro, Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground, Los Angeles, California, 1966. Courtesy of the A. Gallery, Paris and the Centre Pompidou-Metz.

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