Andy Warhol and the ‘Most Famous Ass in the World’

THE DAILY PIC: A new documentary queries two Warhol Superstars on their moment.


THE DAILY PIC (#1527): This of course is a production still of Andy Warhol in the process of shooting his great 1964 film, Taylor Mead’s Ass – which I once had the luck to see screened with a hilarious live introduction by Mead, just before he died. Mead (and his self-declared “most famous ass in the world”) are featured in a new documentary short called Taylor and Ultra on the 60s, The Factory and Being a Warhol Superstar that premieres tomorrow, April 14, at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. (Click on my image to watch a trailer.)

The short, produced by Michael Huter and directed by Brian Bayerl, captures a vital shift in Warhol’s career.

It gives a window into an earlier moment, from 1961 to about midway through 1964, when Warhol was just finding his way in the world of serious “downtown” art, and looked for guidance to genuine, heartfelt avant-gardists such as Taylor Mead and the painter Robert Indiana, who has a cameo in the new film. They helped Warhol figure out how to be counter-cultural.

Then, once Warhol was well launched onto the cutting edge, his entourage started to include figures such as Ultra Violet, a French heiress who had floated into artistic circles. She and similar Warholian “Superstars” weren’t there to help Warhol make more radical art, as Mead had been; they were the art he made – single elements, you could say, in the multi-figure “social sculpture” that Joseph Beuys recognized as the mature Warhol’s great creation. The Silver Factory was Rodin’s Gates of Hell recast for the 1960s. (Photo © 2016 William John Kennedy)

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