Tag Archives: Billy Name

Behind the Scenes at Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory

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Art & Photography / In Pictures

Behind the Scenes at Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory

Warhol’s one-time lover and unofficial Factory photographer, Billy Name, offers an exclusive glimpse into New York’s underground art scene

Name not only documented the Factory, but also played a pivotal role in constructing it. Previously a lighting designer, his first encounter with amphetamines was instrumental in the birth of his signature silver interior decorating style, and he employed it with abandon in the film and theatre sets he worked on throughout the 1960s. As Glenn O’Brien remembers in his introduction to the book: “One day Ondine gave Billy some amphetamines. Billy recalled, ‘All of a sudden I had energy to get up off the floor and start doing things.’ One of the first things Billy did was redecorate the apartment as an artwork, turning the whole thing silver with aluminum foil and spray paint.”

When Warhol visited Name’s apartment to attend one of his famous hair-cutting parties soon afterwards – Name’s father had been a barber – he invited Name to recreate the style at his new loft, a former hat factory on East 47th Street. “Andy didn’t just see a guy’s place and think, ‘That’s a real kook – he’s got foil all over the place,’” Name recalls. “He saw that I had done an installation.”

Name duly hung the walls with aluminium foil, and sprayed everything with Krylon paint. The Silver Factory was born. “It was like constructing this environment,” he said. “For me the whole place was a sculpture. And each time I added a piece to it was like adding another gem to the collection. I never did a specifically articulated thing. I always did a maximal job, but it was the same art thing, it was the same signature, or my tag; the whole silver thing.”

The silver of the factory walls reverberates in Name’s photography – a seemingly never-ending series of lunar faces peering out from between the Factory walls; building installations, making prints, or having parties. “I’m very much interested in portraiture, not only of people but of space, or people in spaces,” he says in the book. “When I take a picture I’m usually looking at a certain structural composition of the whole thing that is going on live, and when it’s just perfect my finger pushes the button… The camera, when I first started using it, wasn’t just about snapshots. I could see things that were matched to my aesthetic framework in that click.”

His singular portraits epitomise Warhol’s golden age and all of the characters who contributed to it, many of whom – Brigid Berlin, Gerard Malanga, Viva, Mary Woronov – have also been involved in the creation of Name’s new book. Flicking through it almost feels like disappearing momentarily into the alternative universe of the Silver Factory; Name and his contemporaries’ memories accompany the photographs, animating the oft-captured faces of Edie Sedgwick, Nico and Brigid Berlin with a new and utterly compelling fervour. Above all, his extensive archive serves to remind us of how extraordinary this era really was.

Billy Name: The Silver Age is available now, published by Reel Art Press. The series will be available to view at at Serena Morton in London from September 30th until October 23rd.

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A FAN LETTER FROM CAMPBELL’S SOUP TO ANDY WARHOL

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A Fan Letter from Campbell’s Soup to Andy Warhol

By Judy Berman on Jul 30, 2010 12:58pm

Andy Warhol adored Campbell’s Soup. That much is obvious. In fact, his mother’s pastime of cutting tin cans into flowers inspired his iconic soup can paintings. But if you ever wondered how Campbell’s felt about Warhol, today is your lucky day. A 1964 fan letter (which accompanied “a couple of cases” of tomato soup) from the company’s Product Marketing Manager to Warhol is after the jump.


[From the collection of Billy Name, via Letters of Note,Warholstars.org]

 

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