Billy Name’s Shots Build the Art that Was Andy
THE DAILY PIC: Warhol's acolyte helped Andy craft the art that was him.
THE DAILY PIC: Billy Name (né Linich) took this photo of Warhol in his Factory in 1966, and it’s now in Name’s luscious new book called “The Silver Age”. Name is well known as both a talented photographer and as Warhol’s assistant and general factotum at the Silver Factory–as the man, in fact, who silvered its walls (and the studio telephone and toilet seat). I think his role as shutterbug and as assistant are interchangeable: the act of taking those photos, of stapling up the tin-foil and of helping to craft art objects all show Name lending a hand in the self-creation that was Warhol’s central artistic act, recognized as such at the time. Because many observers viewed the art objects–even the Campbell’s-soup canvases and Brillo-box sculptures–as evidently empty of aesthetic content, they judged them to be props in Warhol’s life as a Dada prankster. (“Neo-Dada” was the first term for Pop art, used everywhere for several years.) Now that the art market has leveled the field between a Raphael Madonna and a Warhol soup can–in fact valuing the can over the Virgin–we risk losing track of Warhol as a public performer of self. Name’s photographs reveal the universe–the “social sculpture”–that Warhol built around himself in the 1960s. (He built others in the ‘70s and ‘80s). Grabbing onto Name, and then giving him a camera, was one chisel-strike, if you like, in Warhol’s great work of art. When Name himself changed his own … name, in the year of this photo, it was like a Raphael pupil learning the master’s technique. (Image ©Billy Name)
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