The Day The Factory Died

From Andy Warhol: The Day The Factory Died by Christophe von Hohenberg and Charlie Scheips

Forty-three years ago, in the autumn of the year, Andy Warhol had one of his first uptown, bigtime exhibitions in three small rooms in a ground floor gallery in a brownstone in the East 70s. One room was Brillo boxes, one Campbell soup boxes and the other Kellogg’s Corn Flakes boxes. To the world beyond the art world, this was nothing less or more than a hoot.

I know because there I was, as I continue to be, not of the art world, invited by a girl I knew who worked as an assistant to Glamour magazine editor Marguerite Lamkin (now Littman). The impact of the man on his world was hardly apparent that night and in fact could have been foreseen at the time only by the most clairvoyant.

After the gallery opening, there was a party at Warhol’s loft, which at that time was on East 46th Street. The big, gritty loft was painted silver, with foil wrapped around the poles and columns of the room. Even the dangling, bare overhead lightbulbs were silver. The party was bankrolled by a woman named Ethel Scull who with her husband Robert, owner of a fleet of taxicabs, had begun to make a name for themselves as collectors of art that was still selling in the hundreds or even less (and very very rarely in the thousands). It would have been absurd at the time to imagine that one day these same pieces would sell in the millions. A lot of the “pop” artists were present, and in retrospect, it turned out to be one of the first art/media events that personified the era now remembered as “The Sixties.”

The fashion magazine photographers were there taking pictures. Many of the artists, mostly men, are now household names although then still a lean, sometimes scraggly, often a scruffy looking group. They lined up for a group shot with Jean Shrimpton, the hottest fashion model of the time. Ethel Scull, furious that she wasn’t asked to be in the picture, stood in the middle of the huge space and shouted: “I’m paying for this fuckin’ party, why aren’t they taking pictures of me?” Mrs. Scull was taken only semi-seriously at the time. Not because of her forthright self-presentation but because Pop Art was still to many, just a gimmick, a novelty and she was writing checks.

Charlie Scheips with Andy Warhol at the Factory, October 1986 (Photo: Jerry Sohn).

Mrs. Scull’s collection, if it were assembled today would probably be worth a fortune that could buy all the taxicabs in New York three times over and Andy Warhol is now immortal.

Next February 22nd will mark the 20th anniversary of the untimely death of Andy who died as a result of an allergic reaction to an antibiotic administered to him after routine gall bladder surgery. He was 58 years old. The following April 1st, there was a memorial service for him at St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 10:15 in the morning. More than 2000 attended including many of friends and “Factory” associates and some of what Grace Glueck of the New York Times described as some of the “world’s most droppable” names from the world of art, fashion and society. Photographer Christophe von Hohenberg was present, on assignment for Vanity Fair magazine.

A record of this extraordinary event has now been published by von Hohenberg in collaboration with Charlie Scheips (whose Art Set pieces you may have seen on these pages), titled “Andy Warhol; The Day the Factory Died” with foreward by Anthony Haden-Guest and beautifully published by Empire Editions LLC. It is an amazing photo-document of a time and an orbit of art and celebrity that dominated New York creating a great influence on the culture that the artist redefined with his brilliant talent and force of personality.

Click cover to order Andy Warhol; The Day The Factory Died

The book contains dozens of images of those attending the service as well as copies of letters recalling the artist by

Julian Schnabel, Mark Sink, Fernando Sanchez, Ultra Violet, Marc Balet, Glenn O’Brien, Diane von Furstenburg, Dianne Brill, Lynn Wyatt, Jonas Mekas, Vincent Fremont, Brigid Berlin, Stuart Pivar, Jim Jarmusch, Taylor Mead, Harold Stevenson, Jenna Torres, Lou Reed, Ahmet Ertegun, Gerard Malanga, Tony Shafrazi, Martin Price, George Plimpton, Claus Von Bulow, Leo Castelli, Radoslava Protic, Sylvia Miles, Monique Von Vooren, Joey Arias, Cornelia Guest, Erik Wachtmeister, Hedy Klineman, Michael Musto, Lana Pih Jokel, Kenny Scharf, Suzie Frankfurt, Benjamin Liu, Betsey Johnson, Ronald Feldman, Ronnie Cutrone, Holly Solomon, Bob Colacello, and Joan Quinn.

“Andy Warhol; The Day the Factory Died” will officially be published at the beginning of next month although it can be purchased now on Amazon.

Here's an exclusive from the book (all photographs by Christophe von Hohenberg) ...

L. to r.: Beatrice Monti; Bianca Jagger.
L. to r.: Claus von Bulow; Calvin and Kelly Klein.
L. to r.: Cornelia Guest; Outside crowd.
Diane von Furstenberg
Fran Lebowitz
Julian Schnabel
Frederick and Isabel Eberstadt
Halston and Liza
Ian and Rita Schrager with Steve Rubell and Robert Isabell
Judy Green
Lynn Wyatt
Joey Arias
L. to r.: Paloma Picasso and Rafael Lopez; Robert Mapplethorpe.
Sarah Giles, Susie Hayes, and Dominick Dunne
Stephen Sprouse and Francesco Scavullo (Photo: Sam Bolton)
The front of the Mass Card
The back of the Mass Card
Clockwise from above: Tom Wolfe; Yoko Ono and John Richardson giving the Eulogy; Pat Ast, Halston, and DD Ryan at the luncheon at the Paramount Hotel after the service (Photo: Sam Bolton).


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September 6, 2006, Volume VI, Number 138




 

© 2006 David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/NewYorkSocialDiary.com