27 posts tagged "Andy Warhol"
With his movie-star good looks and all-American charisma, it’s no wonder that Halston would have appealed to the perennially celebrity-obsessed Andy Warhol. But what might easily have been a fleeting fixation would grow from their first meeting in the 1960s into an enduring friendship that lasted until Warhol’s death in 1987. This bond—and its far-reaching creative ripples—is the subject of the upcoming Halston and Warhol: Silver and Suede, a multimedia exhibit opening this weekend at Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Museum.
Consider the 1972 Coty Awards, the duo’s first formal—and most riotous—collaboration, where the great designer tasked Warhol with producing his catwalk finale. Starring the “Halstonettes,” the extravaganza boasted a motley crew of ladies both up- and downtown, including zaftig model and Halston muse Pat Ast, who popped out of a cake (wheeled in by Halston), and Factory vedette Baby Jane Holzer, who tap-danced for the assembled crowd at Lincoln Center. Socialite Lily Auchincloss did her part cooking up bacon on the catwalk. Despite the duo’s occasionally humorless milieus of fashion and art, a shared irreverence made for a fruitful partnership. “There’s a democratic, Pop sensibility running through both of their work,” says Nicholas Chambers, a Warhol Museum curator. “It’s this kind of response to the world, but on the other hand, there’s this absolute embrace of glamour.” The latter is evidenced by better-known mergings of the two men’s visionary talents, like Halston’s Fall 1974 gown in an acid-hued print of Warhol’s famed Flowers.
The pair were bound together by a common entrepreneurial spirit, as much the product of their Depression-era childhoods as an element of otherness; both were gay men from less-than-cosmopolitan cities (Halston from Des Moines, Warhol from Pittsburgh), who hit the ground running on their arrivals in Manhattan. “They were both workaholics,” says Lesley Frowick, Halston’s niece, who had a major hand in the exhibit’s curation. “They had to work hard and make it on their own. Halston always had a pen and a pad of paper to sketch and take notes. Warhol always had Interview magazines with him that he would hand out. He was always circulating—they both did that to keep on top of the pulse of pop culture. Halston used to say, ‘Oh, yeah, Andy. He would go to the opening of a drawer.’”
The designer featured Warhol’s works almost exclusively on the walls of his lavish East 63rd Street Paul Rudolph town house, where Frowick lived for a year while attending photography school. Encounters with her uncle’s friend Andy were commonplace. “Halston encouraged a lot of his friends to have their portraits done by Warhol, and he thought, Well, let me have Warhol do my family’s portraits, too. I went to the Factory and he did the portrait. It might sound spoiled, but that was just the way life was. Yet in hindsight, I wish I had paid more attention and taken notes and been able to take more photos myself and kind of record it all,” says Frowick. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of ephemera. Halston was an immaculate archivist and Warhol something of a pack rat, leaving behind more than 610 time capsules of Warhol memorabilia. One, whose contents are on display in the exhibit, brims over with Muppets merchandise. Sent by Jim Henson to Halston around the time of Warhol’s birthday, Halston regifted the pieces, inscribing them in marker: “To Andy, Happy Birthday, Love Halston.”
Halston and Warhol: Silver and Suede opens at The Andy Warhol Museum on May 18. For more information, visit warhol.org.
What better means to fete the Andy Warhol Museum’s twentieth birthday than with some help from another American icon? Halston and Warhol: Silver and Suede, which opens on May 18, takes a look at the two men’s friendship and creative processes. Curated with the help of Halston’s niece Lesley Frowick, the exhibit will juxtapose forty of the designer’s most iconic pieces with Warhol’s films, paintings, and, of course, photos of Studio 54 glitterati (Halston included). Time to take a cue from Liza’s Oscars look, break out the flowing jewel-toned ensembles, and head to Pittsburgh.
“It wasn’t my idea to do this,” explained photographer and curator Paige Powell. “I didn’t want to face it.” The artist is talking about her new exhibition, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Reclining Nude, which opened at the Suzanne Geiss Company on Grand Street last night. The photographs on display, grainy black-and-whites blown up to massive scale from negatives that were untouched for three decades, depict Basquiat lounging nude while sketching in his Upper West Side apartment. Powell’s work captures a moment of intimacy between she and Basquiat—one of many the pair shared during their two-year relationship at a time when Powell ran with Andy Warhol (she started working at Interview magazine just a couple of weeks after moving to New York in 1980) and his crowd of Factory regulars.
“I had so many photographs—prints, video, Polaroids—and they had all gone into boxes, so nothing was referenced, very little was dated,” continued Powell, stopping to greet friends including Gus Van Sant, David LaChapelle, Rufus Wainwright, and Isabel Toledo. “When I came across these, I wasn’t sure if I should show them. I thought, ‘What would Jean-Michel think? He would love these.’”
“Paige was always wired to be a little more conscious of the moment at hand or what it meant—with Andy, with everything,” mused longtime pal, curator and fellow Warholite Carlo McCormick. “I never hung out with Jean naked,” he added. “I only hung out with him doing drugs. But I think it’s nice that she’s conveyed something really intimate on a big scale. It’s a space that you don’t often share.”
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Reclining Nude is on view at Suzanne Geiss Company in New York through February 22.
Last night in London, Christie’s South Kensington auction house played host to an exhibition and discussion orchestrated by the Fashion Illustration Gallery (FIG). And while the audience sat through the Issa London-sponsored talk, whose panel included Christie’s Meredith Etherington-Smith, illustrator David Downton (whose work is pictured above, top left), and Style.com’s Tim Blanks, they were left wondering: Should astute art investors buy up fashion illustration in the same way the world should have snatched up early Basquiat or Koons? “Before Andy Warhol was Andy Warhol, he was a fashion illustrator,” said Etherington-Smith. “Fifty years ago, the art world debated whether photography was a bona fide art form, and the same is happening now with fashion illustration. I believe there is no doubt fashion illustration is an art, but a vastly underappreciated one.”
The art on display last night represented the old guard like Cecil Beaton, Antonio Lopez (above, bottom left), and Andy Warhol, as well as such new talents as Gary Card (above, top right), Zoë Taylor (above, bottom right), and Tanya Ling. Strange bedfellows? Not according to Downton. “Some of the younger fashion illustrators out there are the most skilled draftsmen,” he said. “They very much should take their place alongside the great artists of days gone.”
Among the questions thrown out to an audience that included Suzy Menkes, Camilla Al Fayed, and Susie Bubble: Will fashion illustration ever be accepted as an art form? And will magazine editors ever replace celebs for illustrations? Downton, perhaps, answered these queries best. “The illustration I did a few years back of Cate Blanchett for Australian Vogue was, against all odds, the fastest-selling issue of the year. It also won the Maggie’s Magazine Cover of the Year. After that, there was no doubt for me that there is a place in the art world for fashion illustration.”
FIG’s exhibition at Christie’s South Kensington runs through December 19.