Warhol worked across a wide range of media — painting, photography, drawing, and sculpture. In addition, he was a highly prolific filmmaker. Between 1963 and 1968, he made more than 60 films, plus some 500 short black-and-white "screen test" portraits of Factory visitors. One of his most famous films, Sleep, monitors poet John Giorno sleeping for six hours. The 35-minute film Blow Job is one continuous shot of the face of DeVeren Bookwalter supposedly receiving oral sex from filmmaker Willard Maas, although the camera never tilts down to see this. Another, Empire (1964), consists of eight hours of footage of the Empire State Building in New York City at dusk. The film Eat consists of a man eating a mushroom for 45 minutes. Warhol attended the 1962 premiere of the static composition by LaMonte Young called Trio for Strings and subsequently created his famous series of static films including Kiss, Eat, and Sleep (for which Young initially was commissioned to provide music). Uwe Husslein cites filmmaker Jonas Mekas, who accompanied Warhol to the Trio premiere, and who claims Warhol's static films were directly inspired by the performance.
Batman Dracula is a 1964 film that was produced and directed by Warhol, without the permission of DC Comics. It was screened only at his art exhibits. A fan of the Batman series, Warhol's movie was an "homage" to the series, and is considered the first appearance of a blatantly campy Batman. The film was until recently thought to have been lost, until scenes from the picture were shown at some length in the 2006 documentary Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis.
Warhol's 1965 film Vinyl is an adaptation of Anthony Burgess' popular dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange. Others record improvised encounters between Factory regulars such asBrigid Berlin, Viva, Edie Sedgwick, Candy Darling, Holly Woodlawn, Ondine, Nico, and Jackie Curtis. Legendary underground artist Jack Smith appears in the film Camp.
His most popular and critically successful film was Chelsea Girls (1966). The film was highly innovative in that it consisted of two 16 mm-films being projected simultaneously, with two different stories being shown in tandem. From the projection booth, the sound would be raised for one film to elucidate that "story" while it was lowered for the other. The multiplication of images evoked Warhol's seminal silk-screen works of the early 1960s.
Other important films include Bike Boy, My Hustler, and Lonesome Cowboys, a raunchy pseudo-western. These and other titles document gay underground and camp culture, and continue to feature prominently in scholarship about sexuality and art. Blue Movie — a film in which Warhol superstar Viva makes love and fools around in bed with a man for 33 minutes of the film's playing-time — was Warhol's last film as director. The film was at the time scandalous for its frank approach to a sexual encounter. For many years Viva refused to allow it to be screened. It was publicly screened in New York in 2005 for the first time in over thirty years.
After his June 3, 1968, shooting, a reclusive Warhol relinquished his personal involvement in filmmaking. His acolyte and assistant director, Paul Morrissey, took over the film-making chores for the Factory collective, steering Warhol-branded cinema towards more mainstream, narrative-based, B-movie exploitation fare with Flesh, Trash, and Heat. All of these films, including the later Andy Warhol's Dracula and Andy Warhol's Frankenstein, were far more mainstream than anything Warhol as a director had attempted. These latter "Warhol" films starred Joe Dallesandro — more of a Morrissey star than a true Warhol superstar.
In the early 1970s, most of the films directed by Warhol were pulled out of circulation by Warhol and the people around him who ran his business. After Warhol's death, the films were slowly restored by the Whitney Museum and are occasionally projected at museums and film festivals. Few of the Warhol-directed films are available on video or DVD.
Factory in New York
- Factory: 1342 Lexington Avenue (the first Factory)
- The Factory: 231 East 47th street 1963–1967 (the building no longer exists)
- Factory: 33 Union Square 1967–1973 (Decker Building)
- Factory: 860 Broadway (near 33 Union Square) 1973–1984 (the building has now been completely remodeled and was for a time (2000–2001) the headquarters of the dot-comconsultancy Scient)
- Factory: 22 East 33rd Street 1984–1987 (the building no longer exists)
- Home: 1342 Lexington Avenue
- Home: 57 East 66th street (Warhol's last home)
- Last personal studio: 158 Madison Avenue
In the mid-1960s, Warhol adopted the band the Velvet Underground, making them a crucial element of the Exploding Plastic Inevitable multimedia performance art show. Warhol, with Paul Morrissey, acted as the band's manager, introducing them to Nico (who would perform with the band at Warhol's request). In 1966 he "produced" their first album The Velvet Underground & Nico, as well as providing its album art. His actual participation in the album's production amounted to simply paying for the studio time. After the band's first album, Warhol and band leader Lou Reed started to disagree more about the direction the band should take, and their artistic friendship ended. In 1989, after Warhol's death, Reed and John Cale re-united for the first time since 1972 to write, perform, record and release the concept album Songs for Drella, a tribute to Warhol.
Warhol designed many album covers for various artists starting with the photographic cover of John Wallowitch's debut album, This Is John Wallowitch!!! (1964). He designed the cover art for the Rolling Stones albums Sticky Fingers (1971) and Love You Live (1977), and the John Cale albums The Academy in Peril (1972) and Honi Soit in 1981. In 1975, Warhol was commissioned to do several portraits of Mick Jagger, and in 1982 he designed the album cover for the Diana Ross album Silk Electric. One of his last works was a portrait of Aretha Franklin for the cover of her 1986 gold album Aretha, which was done in the style of the Reigning Queens series he had completed the year before.
Warhol strongly influenced the New Wave/punk rock band Devo, as well as David Bowie. Bowie recorded a song called "Andy Warhol" for his 1971 album Hunky Dory. Lou Reed wrote the song "Andy's Chest", about Valerie Solanas, the woman who shot Warhol, in 1968. He recorded it with the Velvet Underground, and this version was released on the VUalbum in 1985.
Books and print
Beginning in the early 1950s, Warhol produced several unbound portfolios of his work.
The first of several bound self-published books by Warhol was 25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy, printed in 1954 by Seymour Berlin on Arches brand watermarked paper using his blotted line technique for the lithographs. The original edition was limited to 190 numbered, hand colored copies, using Dr. Martin's ink washes. Most of these were given by Warhol as gifts to clients and friends. Copy No. 4, inscribed "Jerry" on the front cover and given to Geraldine Stutz, was used for a facsimile printing in 1987 and the original was auctioned in May 2006 for US $35,000 by Doyle New York.
Other self-published books by Warhol include:
- A Gold Book
- Wild Raspberries
- Holy Cats
After gaining fame, Warhol "wrote" several books that were commercially published:
- a, A Novel (1968, ISBN 0-8021-3553-6) is a literal transcription — containing spelling errors and phonetically written background noise and mumbling — of audio recordings ofOndine and several of Andy Warhol's friends hanging out at the Factory, talking, going out.
- The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B & Back Again) (1975, ISBN 0-15-671720-4) — according to Pat Hackett's introduction to The Andy Warhol Diaries, Pat Hackett did the transcriptions and text for the book based on daily phone conversations, sometimes (when Warhol was traveling) using audio cassettes that Andy Warhol gave her. Said cassettes contained conversations with Brigid Berlin (also known as Brigid Polk) and former Interview magazine editor Bob Colacello.
- Popism: The Warhol 1960s (1980, ISBN 0-15-672960-1), authored by Warhol and Pat Hackett is a retrospective view of the 1960s and the role of pop art.
- The Andy Warhol Diaries (1989, ISBN 0-446-39138-7), edited by Pat Hackett, is a diary dictated by Warhol to Hackett in daily phone conversations. Warhol started the diary to keep track of his expenses after being audited, although it soon evolved to include his personal and cultural observations.
Warhol created the fashion magazine Interview that is still published today. The loopy title script on the cover is thought to be either his own handwriting or that of his mother, Julia Warhola, who would often do text work for his early commercial pieces.
Although Andy Warhol is most known for his paintings and films, he authored works in many different media.
- Drawing: Warhol started his career as a commercial illustrator, producing drawings in "blotted-ink" style for advertisements and magazine articles. Best known of these early works are his drawings of shoes. Some of his personal drawings were self-published in small booklets, such as Yum, Yum, Yum (about food), Ho, Ho, Ho (about Christmas) and (of course) Shoes, Shoes, Shoes. His most artistically acclaimed book of drawings is probably A Gold Book, compiled of sensitive drawings of young men. A Gold Book is so named because of the gold leaf that decorates its pages. In April 2012 a sketch of 1930s singer Rudy Vallee thought to be drawn by Andy Warhol was found at a Las Vegas garage sale. The image is believed to have been drawn when Andy was 9 or 10.
- Sculpture: Warhol's most famous sculpture is probably his Brillo Boxes, silkscreened ink on wood replicas of Brillo soap pad boxes (designed by James Harvey), part of a series of "grocery carton" sculptures that also included Heinz ketchup and Campbell's tomato juice cases. Other famous works include the Silver Clouds — helium filled, silver mylar, pillow-shaped balloons. A Silver Cloud was included in the traveling exhibition Air Art (1968–1969) curated by Willoughby Sharp. Clouds was also adapted by Warhol for avant-garde choreographer Merce Cunningham's dance piece RainForest (1968).
- Audio: At one point Warhol carried a portable recorder with him wherever he went, taping everything everybody said and did. He referred to this device as his "wife". Some of these tapes were the basis for his literary work. Another audio-work of Warhol's was his "Invisible Sculpture", a presentation in which burglar alarms would go off when entering the room. Warhol's cooperation with the musicians of The Velvet Underground was driven by an expressed desire to become a music producer.
- Time Capsules: In 1973, Warhol began saving ephemera from his daily life — correspondence, newspapers, souvenirs, childhood objects, even used plane tickets and food — which was sealed in plain cardboard boxes dubbed Time Capsules. By the time of his death, the collection grew to include 600, individually dated "capsules". The boxes are now housed at the Andy Warhol Museum.
- Television: Andy Warhol dreamed of a television special about a favorite subject of his – Nothing – that he would call The Nothing Special. Later in his career he did create two cable television shows, Andy Warhol's TV in 1982 and Andy Warhol's Fifteen Minutes (based on his famous "fifteen minutes of fame" quotation) for MTV in 1986. Besides his own shows he regularly made guest appearances on other programs, including The Love Boat wherein a Midwestern wife (Marion Ross) fears Andy Warhol will reveal to her husband (Tom Bosley, who starred alongside Ross in sitcom Happy Days) her secret past as a Warhol superstar named Marina del Rey. Warhol also produced a TV commercial for Schrafft's Restaurants in New York City, for an ice cream dessert appropriately titled the "Underground Sundae".
- Fashion: Warhol is quoted for having said: "I'd rather buy a dress and put it up on the wall, than put a painting, wouldn't you?"[cite this quote] One of his most well-known Superstars, Edie Sedgwick, aspired to be a fashion designer, and his good friend Halston was a famous one. Warhol's work in fashion includes silkscreened dresses, a short sub-career as a catwalk-model and books on fashion as well as paintings with fashion (shoes) as a subject.
- Performance Art: Warhol and his friends staged theatrical multimedia happenings at parties and public venues, combining music, film, slide projections and even Gerard Malanga in an S&M outfit cracking a whip. The Exploding Plastic Inevitable in 1966 was the culmination of this area of his work.
- Theater: Andy Warhol's Pork opened on May 5, 1971 at LaMama theater in New York for a two-week run and was brought to the Roundhouse in London for a longer run in August 1971. Pork was based on tape-recorded conversations between Brigid Berlin and Andy during which Brigid would play for Andy tapes she had made of phone conversations between herself and her mother, socialite Honey Berlin. The play featured Jayne County as "Vulva" and Cherry Vanilla as "Amanda Pork". In 1974, Andy Warhol also produced the stage musical Man On The Moon, which was written by John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas.
- Photography: To produce his silkscreens, Warhol made photographs or had them made by his friends and assistants. These pictures were mostly taken with a specific model of Polaroid camera that Polaroid kept in production especially for Warhol. This photographic approach to painting and his snapshot method of taking pictures has had a great effect on artistic photography. Warhol was an accomplished photographer, and took an enormous amount of photographs of Factory visitors, friends.
- Computer: Warhol used Amiga computers to generate digital art, which he helped design and build with Amiga, Inc. He also displayed the difference between slow fill and fast fill on live TV with Debbie Harry as a model. (video)
Producer and product
Warhol had assistance in producing his paintings. This is also true of his film-making and commercial enterprises.
He founded the gossip magazine Interview, a stage for celebrities he "endorsed" and a business staffed by his friends. He collaborated with others on all of his books (some of which were written with Pat Hackett.) He adopted the young painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, and the band The Velvet Underground, presenting them to the public as his latest interest, and collaborating with them. One might even say that he produced people (as in the Warholian "Superstar" and the Warholian portrait). He endorsed products, appeared in commercials, and made frequent celebrity guest appearances on television shows and in films (he appeared in everything from Love Boat to Saturday Night Live and the Richard Pryor movie, Dynamite Chicken).
In this respect Warhol was a fan of "Art Business" and "Business Art" — he, in fact, wrote about his interest in thinking about art as business in The Philosophy of Andy Warhol from A to B and Back Again.