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June 12, 2010
John Wilcock - January 5, 2008

 

The column of lasting insignificance
 
       


also posted:



2011
November 26 2011
November 19, 2011
November 12, 2011
November 5, 2011
October 29, 2011
October 22, 2011
October 15, 2011
October 8, 2011
October 1, 2011
September 24, 2011
September 17, 2011
September 10, 2011
September 4, 2011
August 27, 2011
August 20, 2011
August 13, 2011
August 6, 2011
July 30, 2011
July 23, 2011
July 16, 2011
July 9, 2011
July 2, 2011
June 25, 2011
June 18, 2011
June 11, 2011
June 4, 2011
May 28, 2011
May 21, 2011
May 14, 2011
May 7, 2011
April 30, 2011
April 23, 2011
April 16, 2011
April 9, 2011
April 2, 2011
March 26, 2011
March 19, 2011
March 12, 2011
March 5, 2011
February 26, 2011
February 19, 2011
February 12, 2011
February 5, 2011
February 5, 2011
January 29, 2011
January 22, 2011
January 15, 2011
January 6, 2011

2010
December 25, 2010
December 18, 2010
December 11, 2010
December 4, 2010
November 27, 2010
November 20, 2010
November 13, 2010
November 6, 2010
October 30, 2010
October 23, 2010
October 16, 2010
October 9, 2010
October 2, 2010
September 25, 2010
September 18, 2010
September 11, 2010
September 4, 2010
August 28, 2010
August 21, 2010
August 14, 2010
August 7, 2010
July 31, 2010
July 24, 2010
July 17, 2010
July 10, 2010
July 3, 2010
June 26, 2010
June 19, 2010
June 12, 2010
June 5, 2010
May 29, 2010
May 22, 2010
May 15, 2010
May 8, 2010
May 1, 2010
April 24, 2010
April 17, 2010
April 10, 2010
April 3, 2010
March 27, 2010
March 20, 2010
March 13, 2010
March 6, 2010
February 27, 2010
February 20, 2010
February 13, 2010
February 6, 2010
January 30, 2010
January 23, 2010
January 16, 2010
January 9, 2010
January 2, 2010

2009
December 26, 2009
December 19, 2009
December 12, 2009
December 5, 2009
November 28, 2009
November 21, 2009
November 14, 2009
November 7, 2009
October 31, 2009
October 24, 2009
October 17, 2009
October 10, 2009
October 3, 2009
September 26, 2009
September 19, 2009
September 12, 2009
September 5, 2009
August 29, 2009
August 22, 2009
August 15, 2009
August 8, 2009
August 1, 2009
July 25, 2009
July 18, 2009
July 11, 2009
July 4, 2009
June 27, 2009
June 20, 2009
June 13, 2009
June 6, 2009
May 30, 2009
May 23, 2009
May 16, 2009
May 9, 2009
May 2, 2009
April 25, 2009
April 18, 2009
April 11, 2009
April 4, 2009
March 28, 2009
March 21, 2009
March 14, 2009
March 7, 2009
February 28, 2009
February 21, 2009
February 14, 2009
February 7, 2009
January 31, 2009
January 24, 2009
January 17, 2009
January 3, 2009

2008
December 27, 2008
December 20, 2008
December 13, 2008
December 6, 2008
November 29, 2008
November 22, 2008
November 15, 2008
November 8, 2008
November 5, 2008
November 1, 2008
October 25, 2008
October 18, 2008
October 11, 2008
October 4, 2008
September 27, 2008
September 20, 2008
September 13, 2008
September 6, 2008
August 30, 2008
August 23, 2008
August 16, 2008
August 9, 2008
August 2, 2008
July 26, 2008
July 19, 2008
July 12, 2008
July 5, 2008
June 28, 2008
June 21, 2008
June 14, 2008
June 7, 2008
May 31, 2008
May 24, 2008
May 17, 2008
May 10, 2008
May 3, 2008
April 26, 2008
April 19, 2008
April 12, 2008
April 5, 2008
March 29, 2008
March 22, 2008
March 15, 2008
March 8, 2008
March 1, 2008
February 23, 2008
February 16, 2008
February 9, 2008
February 2, 2008
January 26, 2008
January 19, 2008
January 12, 2008
January 5, 2008

2007
December 29, 2007
December 22, 2007
December 15, 2007
December 8, 2007
December 1, 2007
November 24, 2007
November 17, 2007
November 10, 2007
November 3, 2007
October 27, 2007
October 20, 2007
October 13, 2007
October 6, 2007
September 29, 2007
September 22, 2007
September 15, 2007
September 8, 2007
September 1, 2007
August 25, 2007
August 18, 2007
August 11, 2007
August 4, 2007
July 28, 2007
July 21, 2007
July 14, 2007
July 7, 2007
June 30, 2007
June 23, 2007
June 16, 2007
June 9, 2007
June 2, 2007
May 19, 2007
May 12, 2007
May 5, 2007
April 28, 2007
April 21, 2007
April 14, 2007
April 7, 2007
March 31, 2007
March 24, 2007
March 17, 2007
March 10, 2007
March 3, 2007
February 24, 2007
February 17, 2007
February 10, 2007
February 3, 2007
January 20, 2007
January 13, 2007
January 6, 2007

2006
December 30, 2006
December 23, 2006
December 16, 2006
December 9, 2006
December 2, 2006
November 25, 2006
November 18, 2006
November 11, 2006
November 4, 2006
October 28, 2006
October 21, 2006
October 14, 2006
October 7, 2006
September 30, 2006
September 23, 2006
September 16, 2006
September 9, 2006
September 2, 2006
August 26, 2006
August 19, 2006
August 12, 2006
August 5, 2006
July 29, 2006
July 22, 2006
July 15, 2006

 

 


June 12, 2010

John Wilcock
the column of lasting insignificance

IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS, I’m returning to New York (coffee anyone?) for the first time in years. My presence is to help with the launch of The Autobiography & Sex Life of Andy Warhol which, some readers may recall, was part-serialized on this site a couple of years ago. The book was actually written more than 40 years ago, a series of conversations with Andy’s friends and associates just as he was becoming an international figure. Although selling for $5 a copy at the 1971 Whitney Museum retrospective, the book was eventually asking $150 on Amazon. The current edition, much classier, is priced at $45, or less via Amazon.com.
     In addition to a book-signing at Larry Gagosian’s Madison Avenue store, the crux of the New York visit will be a panel discussion at the New York Public Library on June 23 with some  participants in the original book. Almost half of these are now dead, including editor and art critic Mario Amaya who provided a moving account of the day that both he and Andy were shot by a spurned Factory visitor.
       “What Andy is selling” somebody told me back in the Sixties, before I met the enigmatic artist, “is not so much art as a milieu” of which I became an eager part. From the beginning I found myself often confused about what was happening. Thus, my question about what Andy might be trying to say.
      Mario replied: “He isn’t trying to say something as such, he’s trying to show something….He’s showing us a little bit about what’s happening with us and to us and for us and in us”.
    This library event could provide similar “explanations”, but will largely consist of memories about the trend-setting enigma who has become an icon. Who could possibly have guessed that a half-century later hardly a day would go by when the Warhol name was not evoked in one newspaper story or another.
     Of course, during the years I hung around with Andy and his crew I had no inkling of what The Autobiography and Sex Life of Andy Warholwas to come. It just seemed to be the most interesting thing around. I became so  fascinated by the overpowering energy of the ‘Factory’ (the original one opposite the YMCA on West 47th Street) that I started to devote two or three days a week to joining what seemed like an endless party. I joined the entourage for film-making jaunts round town, hung out at the Factory getting everybody stoned on good weed, and accompanied them for trips to the mid-West and Los Angeles. Nevertheless, I became more and more baffled by what was going on.
     One of the ‘superstars’, Ultra Violet, said he was just unpredictable. “That’s what I like about all artists” she said. “You never know what they will be doing next”. (Much later I was much amused by the quote from some now-forgotten source: “The thing to remember about Andy is that he never does the same thing once”.)
       Mainly to satisfy my own curiosity, I began to  audiotape chats with everybody who seemed likely to “explain” things, and it was the accumulation of these conversations that became the book. It  was hurriedly published, to coincide with the Whitney retrospective. The not-quite-accurate title was supplied by Paul Morrissey who had earlier told me that “almost everything that (Andy) does is of a comic nature. He refuses to be serious but being comical is one of the most serious things. It requires an enormous amount of purpose and determination to be comical. To avoid being serious is very hard to do”.
        As soon as the collection of the book was in print, I gave Andy a copy, but he never offered any opinion to me about it and I never solicited any. Lacking reviews, the book soon disappeared. But I am very aware that my apprenticeship around the Factory taught me much about my life.
     When art-lover Chris Trela came across the book in a secondhand store in the 1990s, he felt he saw its value as a piece of documentary history about “the people that Warhol invented and who invented him”. After many delays, Chris was able to republish The Autobiography & Sex Life of Andy Warhol and write a foreword.
      Deeming himself  “a Warhol enthusiast” Chris speculates on why he and so many others are fascinated by the artist. He suggests that it may be due to the fact that “his work—and even his persona—was so intricately associated with a particular period, it transcends that era”.

 

A VERY DIFFERENT IRAN from today is depicted by Abou Farman (in the quarterly magazine Bidoun), a country in which everything good and heroic about America was once embodied in John Wayne. The movie star’s words, subtly translated via the contemporary slang of downtown Tehran----an urban subculture known as jahel—resonated with viewers. “He was not so much translated as alchemized by the wizards of Persian dub into a new alloy”, writes Ms. Farman, “a man who walked like a cowboy but talked like a dude from south Tehran”.
    The dubbers, it seemed—“freed from any obligation to sync with the image”—would throw in slangy insults on their own initiative. Sometimes even fictitious scenes would be added, as for example, when the saloon doors would swing open to reveal a sultry belly dancer before reverting to the guys around the poker table. “What made the best dubs so good” says Farman, “was that they added another register, a meta-commentary that created and revealed subtexts in the films”. Alas, she added, “Persian dub died a slow death in the late 1970s with the spread of corporate notions of ownerships, stricter enforcement of copyright and a growing sense of loyalty to the original”.
       

 “A Western woman is not her brother’s or her father’s property. She’s just herself. She can choose her own lifestyle. But in a Muslim family, the honor of the man is between the legs of a woman. What they think is that she has to be chaste so that their honor can be preserved.”
         -- Ayaan Hirsi Ali on the difference between the position of Western women and of Muslim women in the Times Magazine

THE WILCOCK WEB: Pity there isn’t some anti-collusion law under which the networks could be indicted for all showing commercials at the same time …Boxes marked on the road at traffic lights in Portland, OR, allow bicyclists to take off before cars when the lights change…. Except in Britain where there’s been a major shift from beer to wine, alcohol consumption has been dropping in almost all European countries reports the Economist  with adults in Italy and France drinking more than a third less than in the 1980s….The average Scot consumes 12.2litres of alcohol a year, equivalent to 48 bottles of vodka according to  the Daily Mail….. Robot-driven cars will soon be taking to the highways. This fall a driver-less car, an Audi TTS, will make a test run for 12 miles (and 5,000 ft) up Pikes Peak in Colorado…Instead of paying $100 a ton to ship its garbage to the mainland, why doesn’t Hawaii just tip it into one of the volcanoes?…..A genuine CIA cap with the insignia on the front is being given away to new subscribers by Newsmax“Nobody can be so amusingly arrogant as a young man who has just discovered an old idea” says Sydney Harris, “and thinks it is his own”…..Only a bicycle pump is needed to prepare the new fiberglass&cloth surfboards for action…."The lie is the basic building block of good manners” suggested Quentin Crisp…..Oxford University’s Mark Graham published a map in the Guardian demonstrating that African countries are so short-changed in Wikipedia that the cyber encyclopedia devotes one entry for every 40 square miles of Germany but one entry for very 10,500 square miles of Chad……Opening page of the Atlantic—an ad for FlexJet—depicts a luggage tag bearing the subscriber’s name … A picture is worth a thousand words, but it uses up three thousand times the memory…... Attach the YoGen Universal Mobile Device Charger ($45) to your dead cell phone and it will keep applying a charge as long as you keep pulling the attached string--“In the fight between you and the world, back the world”—Franz Kafka (3 July, 1883-3 June,1924)

6/5/10

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