Retro Warhol


Andy Warhol
USA 1963
81 min

The Hollywood we were driving to that fall of 63 was in limbo. The Old Hollywood was finished and the New Hollywood hadnt started yet. It was the French girls who had the new star mystiques Jeanne Moreau, Françoise Hardy, Sylvie Vartan, Catherine Deneuve, and her tall, beautiful sister, Françoise Dorléac (who would die horribly in a car crash in 67). But this made Hollywood more exciting to me, the idea that it was so vacant. Vacant, vacuous Hollywood was everything I ever wanted to mold my life into. Plastic. White-on-white. I wanted to live my life at the level of the script of <i>The Carpetbaggers</i> it looked like it would be so easy to just walk into a room the way those actors did and say those wonderful plastic lines. I kept raving about that movie all the time to people in Hollywood, but for some reason I was calling it «The Howard Hughes Story» so nobody knew what I was talking about.
Somewhere in here the girl who you could call my first female superstar arrived in Los Angeles Naomi Levine. She was staying with the sculptor John Chamberlain and his wife, Elaine, in Santa Monica. Before we left New York, Gerard and Wynn had introduced us at a performance at the Living Theater on Sixth Avenue and 14th Street, and then wed all gone up together to a black-tie opening at the Museum of Modern Art. Naomi was working at F. A. O. Schwarz, the Fifth Avenue toy store, but she was also making films; she was very film-studentish. Jonas Mekas had just printed something in his «Movie Journal» column in the «Voice» about one of her movies getting confiscated (and one of Jack Smiths, too) by a New York film-processing lab for having nudity in it and they hadnt merely confiscated it, theyd gone ahead and actually destroyed it! Naomi said she was in L.A. to raise money for the Film-Makers Coop. But Gerard and Taylor kept claiming that she was in love with me and that thats why shed flown out, that she was disappointed we hadnt invited her along for the ride.
Out in Hollywood, I kept thinking about the silly, unreal way the movies there treated sex. After all, the early ones used to have sex and nudity like Hedy Lamarr in <i>Ecstasy</i> but then they suddenly realized that they were throwing away a good tease, that they should save it for a rainy day. Like, every ten years they would show another part of the body or say another dirty word on screen, and that would stretch out the box office for years, instead of just giving it away all at once. But then when foreign films and underground films started getting big, it threw Hollywoods timetable off. They would have wanted to have everybody waiting out another twenty years to see total nudity while they milked every square inch of flesh. So Hollywood began to say that they were «protecting the public morality», when the fact was they were just upset that they were going to be rushed into complete nudity when all along theyd been counting on lots of money from a long-drawn-out striptease.
By this time Id confessed to having my Bolex with me, and we decided to shoot a silent Tarzan movie around the bathtub in our suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel with Taylor as Tarzan and Naomi as Jane.

Andy Warhol,
«POPism: The Warhol 60s»,
Warhol and Hackett, N.Y. 1980

  • Dennis Hopper - Caesar
  • Taylor Mead
  • Naomi Levine
  • Claes Oldenburg
  • Pat Oldenburg
  • Wally Berman
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