Release Date: September 1st thru 14th, 2006 (Film Forum) by Steeplechase Films.
*Admission is free on day of show. Tickets available starting each day at 12:30 PM. Maximum 2 tickets per person.*
Directed by Ric Burns.
BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about the life of Andy Warhol, a controversial artist from the 20th Century.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Andy Warhol presents a linear, coherent and detailed biography of Andy Warhol from his birth in 1928 until his death in 1987. His passion for art began as a teenager living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his loving and supporting mother and father. At the age of 20, he made a smart move from Pittsburgh to New York City in order to pursue his dreams of becoming a famous artist. His first stint was as a commercial illustrator for Glamour Magazine. At this point, his name was still Andy Warhola, but when a typesetter omitted the “A”, he didn’t correct it and lived with the name Andy Warhol for the rest of his life. His illustrated art impressed many people, especially with his use of “blotted lines” which gave it a printed, awkward feel. Soon began his rise to fame as the leader of the Pop Art Movement who wore a grey wig. Director Ric Burns does an excellent job of synthesizing footage from Warhol’s life and fascinating interviews with curators and biographers. Biographer John Richardson states that Warhol was an observer rather than a participator in life. He reflects life rather than projecting it. Not surprisingly, he always wanted to be taken seriously which eventually happened with the help of curator Henry Geldzahler. Not everyone understood the genius of Warhol’s work at the time—some critics didn’t appreciate him taking a found image (i.e. of Marilyn Monroe or of Campbell soup cans) and altering it by enlarging it, tracing it and/or coloring it. Ric Burns wisely maintains focus on Warhol’s life rather than going into depth about whether or not his work should be considered art. He also doesn’t spend too much time explaining how he was shot by Valerie Solanis, the founder and sole member of the Society for Cutting Up Men. By the end of this 4 hour-long documentary, you’ll understand how Warhol was an influential artist and an obscure filmmaker who shouldn’t be forgotten. Andy Warhol has a wealth of information about Warhol and gives you a fascinating, humanizing glimpse into his private life which you can’t get from just reading a textbook about him.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: It’s illuminating to know that Warhol’s private life was different from his public image. He was a bit modest about himself in private. His reasons for wanting to become successful are very basic: he wanted to be able to support himself financially while still doing what he loves. Any other path in life would not be worth living. Overall, the story of his life feels inspirational because he had a dream along with talent and pursued it until he achieved fame and fortune. Not everyone liked him or understood him, but they couldn’t stop him from continuing to express himself through art—even after his near-death experience from being shot by Valerie Solanis.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: Fascinating, illuminating and inspirational.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "A" Menu