LORDS OF THE REVOLUTION: ANDY WARHOL (TV)

Summary

One in a VH1 documentary series on influential counter-culture leaders of the 20th century, this episode spotlights provocative artist and filmmaker Andy Warhol, his contributions to the world of art, and the people who surrounded him in the 60s. The production is interspersed with recollections from Warhol's "regulars," including Danny Fields, Bibbe Hansen, Bob Heide, Billy Name, Betsey Johnson, Mary Woronov, Sally Kirkland, Steven Watson, Ron Tavel, Stephen Shore, and Nat Finkelstein.

The narrative opens in 1964 with the creation of Warhol's “Silver Factory” in midtown Manhattan. Used as a "salon" for street people and artists, the setting provided inspiration for Warhol to hone his unique form of pop art-based painting. Warhol encouraged his entourage to use "social narcotics" on the premises, resulting in a high energy level. Soon, Warhol began experimenting with "underground film" productions starring the resident eccentrics and artists, all of whom became known as “Warhol superstars.” The group included Warhol's assistant Gerard Malanga, along with Brigid Berlin, Robert Olivo, and Freddy Herko, who killed himself in 1964 by jumping out a window.

Jane Holzer was the first of Warhol's "stars" to be dubbed “Girl of the Year” by media that publicized her simply for being glamorous.. Holzer paved the path for her successor, Edie Sedgwick, who became Warhol's girlfriend. A tense relationship formed between Warhol and singer Bob Dylan when Dylan came to the Factory for a screen test. Animosity intensified when Dylan expressed a romantic interest in Sedgwick, who temporarily left the Factory for him.

In 1965, Warhol underwent a major transition from film and painting via the release of "silver clouds," helium-filled painted balloons. Warhol became the manager of a then-unknown band, The Velvet Underground. Warhol, who was drawn to Underground singer Lou Reed's lyrics, then teamed the band with a new lead singer, German fashion model Nico, who became the latest "Girl of the Year."

Warhol combined film, music, dance, and synthetic performance art in an ambitious concert project known as "The Exploding Plastic Inevitable,” which achieved great success in New York. Warhol, The Velvet Underground, and his entourage then journeyed to California to expand their brand of art. However, the "peace, love, and flower hippies" did not respond well to the "dark" band and Warhol's group scrambled to return to New York.

Back in Manhattan, Warhol further developed his filmmaking style, with minimal editing, extreme realism, and a mostly unscripted approach, coupled with his trademark eccentricity. In 1966, Warhol shot the film “Chelsea Girls,” which becomes an overnight sensation and galvanized both the underground film movement and mainstream filmmaking. As the Factory's fame soared, Warhol glamorized previously-ostracized social groups and made "superstars" out of drag queens Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling, and Jackie Curtis.

In 1968, radical feminist Valerie Solanas attempted to murder Warhol after giving him a script, leaving Warhol in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the chest. Though he survived, the experience changed Warhol immensely as he set up quarters in a new, corporation-like Factory in downtown Manhattan. The move alienated the majority of his friends and followers, leading some to suicide, including Sedgwick. Though Warhol prospered until his death in 1987, his "revolutionary" period had officially come to a close. Commercials deleted.

Details

  • NETWORK: VH1
  • DATE: August 14, 2009 8:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:42:48
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: 100334
  • GENRE: Public affairs/Documentaries
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Public affairs/Documentaries
  • SERIES RUN: VH1, TV series- 2009
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

    • Brad Abramson … Executive Producer
    • Michael Hirschorn … Executive Producer
    • Shelly Tatro … Executive Producer
    • Ted Kim … Supervising Producer
    • Stephen Mintz … Supervising Producer
    • Lydia Zamacona … Associate Producer
    • Martin Torgoff … Consulting Producer, Writer
    • Richard Belzer … Narrator
    • Brigid Berlin
    • Jackie Curtis
    • Candy Darling
    • Bob Dylan
    • Danny Fields
    • Nat Finkelstein
    • Bibbe Hansen
    • Bob Heide
    • Freddy Herko
    • Jane Holzer
    • Betsey Johnson
    • Sally Kirkland
    • Gerard Malanga
    • Billy Name
    • Nico
    • Robert Olivo (See also: Ondine)
    • Lou Reed
    • Edie Sedgwick
    • Stephen Shore
    • Valerie Solanas
    • Ron Tavel
    • Andy Warhol
    • Steven Watson
    • Holly Woodlawn
    • Mary Woronov