1.17.2007

Watching Andy Warhol Films While Standing Up

Girish, on Andy Warhol

"To begin with, some facts. Warhol bought a 16 mm Bolex camera and started making films in 1963. Almost all his films were made in the five-year period from 1963-1968. As Michael O’Pray has pointed out, these years can be roughly divided into three phases: (1) 1963-64: silent, relatively short B&W films made with the Bolex, like Kiss, Sleep, Eat, Haircut, Blow-Job, and the Screen Tests; (2) 1964-66: longer films, often an hour or more, with sound, like Beauty #2, Kitchen and The Chelsea Girls; (3) 1967-68: an attempt to build upon the commercial success of The Chelsea Girls, with a slightly tighter and clearer, more realist narrative, probably under the increasing influence of Paul Morrissey. Films in this phase include: My Hustler, Nude Restaurant and Lonesome Cowboys. Valerie Solanas shot Warhol in 1968, which abruptly ended his active, hands-on filmmaking activities. He did continue to sign Morrissey films like Flesh, Trash and Heat over the next couple of years."

"...I have two points of concern about films that are part of an art exhibit these days:(1) more and more, they are being shown on DVD and not celluloid; and (2) sometimes (as for these Warhol films) there is no place to sit if you want to watch them—you have to stand, which quickly gets uncomfortable, not to mention the bustle of the circulating crowd around you..."

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