|Portrait of Andy Warhol posing in front of "Birmingham" Race Riot, The Factory, New York City, 1964.|
|Before They Were Famous: Behind The Lens of William John Kennedy
by Jill Lynne
As someone who photographed Andy Warhol and the Factory scene in the 1970s and 1980s, I was curious to see how another photographer, a generation earlier – namely William John Kennedy – had “pictured” the same burgeoning group.
During the ‘60s it seems Kennedy, who was living in a cheap pre-trendiness Chelsea loft (with good light), was befriended by the Warhol clan and its rising Art-Stars. For several years he became privy to that secret world. And voila!
The Exhibition, “Before They Were Famous,” presents this documentation. The interest is mostly historical. Featuring Kennedy’s B&W and color photographs – candids and posed – as well as a selection of art from other period creators, it returns one to a seemingly more innocent and light-hearted environment.
Of note was a mirrored piece by the fascinating Ultraviolet – who continues to produce thought-provoking art.
Kennedy studied at Pratt and The School of Visual Arts in the 1950s, and accordingly, this early work represents a beginner’s aesthetic. He soon left this aesthetic genre for the more lucrative career of a successful commercial photographer.
Under the aegis of the wonderful creative director Louis Canales, the Exhibit has now traveled on to additional national locations.
|Andy Warhol with "Self Portrait" mounted on homemade sandwich board on fire escape at the Factory, 1964.||Andy Warhol holding an unrolled acetate of "Marilyn" in the Factory, 1964.|
|Robert Indiana holding "Love" at his Coenties Slip studio, 1964.||Andy Warhol , Mario Amaya, and Robert Indiana at an early exhibition in New York City, 1963.|
|Robert Indiana at one of his early exhibitions with his "X5" (1963) in the background.|
|Claes Oldenburg and Robert Indiana in New York City, 1963.|
|Robert Indiana and Dorothy Miller in New York City, 1963.|
|Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Indiana in New York City, 1963.|
|However New Yorkers will have another opportunity: "Before They Were Famous” is scheduled to be part of Art Hamptons, July 13-15th 2012.
When the exhibit was recently installed on the Lower East Side in NYC I trekked down to view it. Having recently received many Invitations to Galleries and Boutiques located in this area, (where I generally never am,) I decided to walk Rivington Street. I was delightfully surprised to find – especially West of Bowery – a thriving community with every storefront occupied by an up-and-coming designer, a new restaurant, as well as established eateries and talent. This might become a destination!
|Photographer William John Kennedy, of "Before They Were Famous."||Creative Director Louis Canales.|
|The wonderful French-born artist Ultra Violet, a popular member of The Factory Scene, here with her Mirror Art.|
|Taylor Mead and Ultra Violet Discuss The Factory and more on a Panel at Rivington Street Gallery.|
|Eric Shiner, Director Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, with Publisher Michael E. Huber, Kiwi Arts Group.||Elin Lake, Director of O'Toole-Ewald Art Associates, Inc.|
|The William John Kennedy Limited Edition Collection, as well as additional information, is available from www.KiwiArtsGroup.com.|
|All Vintage Photographs (c) William John, 1960s
All Additional Photographs (c) Jill Lynne, May 2012