London Exhibition, Serena Morton II opens 30 September 2015
R|A|P publication date: November 2014
Download the London exhibition press release here.
‘Billy’s photos were the only thing that ever came close to capturing the feel of the 1960s Silver Factory.’ – Andy Warhol
Billy Name: The Silver Age is the definitive and comprehensive collection of Billy Name’s black and white photographs from Warhol’s Factory. Billy’s images from this period (1964-68) are one of the most important photographic documents of any single artist in history.
This insightful visual essay from Reel Art Press, produced in collaboration with Billy, offers an extensive trip through Warhol’s world. Billy photographed the day-to-day happenings at the Factory with Andy, including visits from Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, Nico, Edie Sedgwick, Ivy Nicholson and Bob Dylan; filming Screen Tests and features like Chelsea Girls, Vinyl and My Hustler.
On January 28, 1964, Warhol’s datebook notes, “New Studio 231 East 47th.” The space, a narrow floor-through loft overlooking the street from the fourth floor of an industrial building in midtown Manhattan would become, The Silver Factory —a microcosm of the sixties and a focal point of avant-garde history. For Andy Warhol, 1964 would prove to be his watershed year. It was the year that he reinvented himself and shifted his persona from that of a commercial artist to the King of Pop.
After visiting Billy’s apartment on the Lower East Side, Warhol asked him to decorate his new loft. So, for the first six months of the year, living in a tiny closet at the Factory, Billy was responsible for the legendary ‘silverizing’ of the space, covering every square centimeter in either silver foil or silver spray paint. When Andy gave Billy a Pentax Honeywell 35mm camera, he took on the role of resident photographer and archivist.
This volume begins with photographs documenting the very first months of the Silver Factory in 1964. We see the works Andy made: the Most Wanted Men, the Box Sculptures, the Jackies, the Marilyn’s, the Self-Portraits, the Flowers; the films he shot: Soap Opera, Couch, Harlot, Batman Dracula, Henry Geldzahler, Mario Banana (No. 1 and No. 2), Jill Johnston Dancing and numerous Screen Tests (in 1964 he also made Eat, Blow Job, Kiss, Empire, Alan Marlowe/Diane di Prima, and Shoulder); and the company he kept: Gerard Malanga, Jane Holzer, Ivy Nicholson, Ray Johnson, Jill Johnston, Ivan Karp and Stephen Shore.
1965 was largely defined by Edie Sedgwick’s presence at the Factory and is presented here with images taken during the filming of three major films: Girls in Prison, Vinyl, and The Life of Juanita Castro. We also see behind the scenes: Edie teasing Gerard’s hair, the girls of Girls in Prison chatting nonchalantly between reels and note the appearance of celebrities such as Salvador Dali and Tennessee Williams.
From 1966 the social matrix of the Factory was defined by the activities of the Velvet Underground. Evident in the photographs is the atmosphere of dark glamour that epitomized the Factory during this period and embodied in songs such as “Venus in Furs”, “I’m Waiting for the Man”, “All Tomorrow’s Parties”, and “Heroin.”
With a foreword by John Cale, this stunning volume features over 400 of Billy’s black and white photographs alongside contributions from Factory regulars including Brigid Berlin, Bibbe Hansen, Diane Di Prima, Danny Fields, Robert Heide, Gerard Malanga, Allen Midgette, Viva, Amary Woronov.
This stunning volume is one of the most important documents of the Pop art era. Billy Name: The Silver Age will be accompanied by an exhibition at The Milk Gallery, New York in November 2014 and Serena Morton II, London in September 2015.
BILLY NAME IS AVAILABLE FOR SELECTED INTERVIEWS
Dagon James is a New York based archivist, editor and curator. He is the founder and publisher of Lid magazine and fine art imprint The Waverly Press; the publisher of limited edition books and prints; and he works with museums and galleries worldwide.