IMAGINARY ARTISTS III: WARHOL

6 Apr

Even the “real” Andy Warhol was a fictional character, a fastidiously maintained Pop Art costume and distancing apparatus worn throughout his adult life by the lad from Pittsburgh formerly known to his Slovakian parents as Andrej Varhola Jr. After he was nearly shot to death by Valerie Solanas in 1968 it was almost as if the last vestiges of any real person really had died that day; all that remained was the character. On the rare occasions when he spoke of it at all, Warhol more or less admitted this was the case. He sometimes spoke of seeing himself as if he were a character on television.

Within a few years of his death in 1987 Andy Warhol started to appear as a character in numerous films and TV shows, including some (Austin Powers and Watchmen, for example) where he amounts to not much more than a kind of set dressing, a shorthand way of placing the action in trendy New York in the 1960s. IMDB lists a startling thirty appearances of the character since 1991. This means there were some years where Warhol was a character in several films simultaneously. I’m almost certain there are others that aren’t yet listed on IMDB or never would be because they’re outside its remit: TV dramas or feature films from non-Anglophone countries, adverts, comedy shows, pop videos, and so on.

Please enjoy this small gallery of Andys. I haven’t seen I Shot Andy Warhol for years though I seem to recall it being fairly good, but some of these films are bloody atrocious. Most of the ones I haven’t seen look pretty bad as well. I noticed that he’s frequently depicted with his work; this is true in five of the eight stills shown on this page alone. Perhaps it’s an unconscious realisation that the character of the real-world Andy Warhol himself was also in some sense as much a work of art, and of artifice, as his famous soup cans or his screenprints of Marilyn.

HankAzariaSimpsons1999AW

(Far too) animated Andy Warhol (voice by Hank Azaria) in The Simpsons, 1999.

JaredHarrisIShotAW1996

Jared Harris as Andy Warhol in I Shot Andy Warhol, 1996.

BowieBasquiat1996AW

David Bowie as Andy Warhol, Basquiat, 1996. To quote Andy Warhol in many of his interviews: “Um… No.”

GuyPearceFactoryGirl2006AW

Guy Pearce as Andy Warhol, Factory Girl, 2006.

BillHaderAWMiB32012

Bill Hader as Andy Warhol, Men in Black 3, 2012. I did warn you that some of these films were shit.

DavidHermanFuturama2011AW

Andy Warhol (voice by David Herman) in Futurama, 2011, talking to Zoidberg in a cravat and wig.

BobSwainDeathBecomesHer1992AW

Bob Swain as Andy Warhol, Death Becomes Her, 1992. With Zoidberg in a wig again, sorry I mean Marilyn Monroe. I see what you did there, director of Death Becomes Her.

GregTravisWatchmen2009AW

Greg Travis as Andy Warhol, Watchmen, 2009. Watchmen Pop Art in the background.

Advertisements

3 Responses to “IMAGINARY ARTISTS III: WARHOL”

  1. holditnow 06/04/2013 at 2:05 PM #

    I think Bowie’s portrayal was pretty good. He got the pregnant pauses.

    • Alistair 06/04/2013 at 4:29 PM #

      Fair enough. I’ve not seen Basquiat, so I’ll take your word for it. I was just judging by the stills, in which he never looks anything less than silly. Even when he’s right for the film Bowie’s usually quite a bad actor though, are you sure he hadn’t just forgotten his lines?

  2. Alistair 06/04/2013 at 4:39 PM #

    Reblogged this on Alistair Gentry.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: