Isn’t life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?
Gagosian is pleased to present a selection of photographs that evoke the spirit of Andy Warhol’s Factory, taken of and by the artists and personalities that made up Warhol’s circle. Echoing and embracing the commodification of art and fashion, Warhol effectively blurred the lines between his art, his life, and their media representations. In his paintings, photographs, and films, he not only depicted celebrities, but also created them, forming a community of “Superstars” who rode the boundaries of gender, sexuality, notoriety, and fame. The Superstars—socialites, artists, and other local personalities made famous through their proximity to Warhol—often gathered in Warhol’s studio, known as the Factory, which had three different locations between 1963 and 1987. The first, located at 231 East 47th Street, in midtown Manhattan, is often referred to as the Silver Factory, as it was completely covered in tin foil and mirrors—a glittering interior fit for Warhol’s legendary parties and artistic innovations. In 1968, Warhol moved the Factory to 33 Union Square West, near Max’s Kansas City, a club that he and his cohort frequently visited; and in 1974, it moved around the corner to 860 Broadway at the north end of Union Square.
This presentation offers an expansive look at the Factory and the social life that it generated. Gerard Malanga shows a pensive Warhol holding a camera, Patti Smith with Robert Mapplethorpe, and Superstar Candy Darling sprawled in a black dress. Michael Halsband’s notorious images of Warhol and Basquiat sparring with boxing gloves contrast with David McCabe’s photos of more candid moments—Warhol lighting Edie Sedgwick’s cigarette, working on a painting, or standing in an elevator; while Peter Lindbergh captures quiet views of Warhol’s secluded house in Montauk. In many ways, the Factory functioned as a work of art in and of itself, prefiguring the socially driven, participatory spaces being created by artists today. By looking back at the countless angles from which Warhol’s life and studio activities were documented in photographs, the viewer can perceive the seeds of a media-saturated present in the mythic and compelling world of the ultimate Pop artist.