ANDY WARHOL: THE COMPLETE PICTURE is the definitive account of the life and work of the most enigmatic and influential artist of the late twentieth century. Over 60 interviews with Warhol’s close friends, collaborators, Superstars, Factory cohorts and family, as well as distinguished philosophers, art historians and cultural commentators, constitute a documentary profile unprecedented in its depth, range and scale.
The series boasts unique access to the Warhol Foundation’s rich and extensive archives, previously unseen private home-movie footage, audio-tapes as yet unheard, and extracts from Warhol’s legendary film experiments, mysteriously withdrawn by the artist over 30 years ago.
Warhol’s intuitive grasp of, and influence on, the collapsing of high and low culture in the late twentieth century is reflected in the extraordinary range of participants in this series, who include ARTHUR DANTO, Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, Blondie’s DEBBIE HARRY, Hollywood maverick DENNIS HOPPER and fellow Warhol collector LORD ARCHER.
Other contributors include artists JULIAN SCHNABEL, JEFF KOONS, PETER BLAKE, KENNY SCHARF, RONNIE CUTRONE and KOMAR & MELAMID; actors CRISPIN GLOVER, JOE DALLESANDRO, UDO KIER and JARED HARRIS; filmmakers PAUL MORRISSEY and JONAS MEKAS; musicians JOHN CALE and THE DANDY WARHOLS; New York socialite NAN KEMPNER, and guru of window dressing, SIMON DOONAN. Beginning with Warhol’s death and the establishment of the Andy Warhol museum in Pittsburgh (the only museum dedicated to an American artist), it becomes immediately apparent as we sift through the vast treasure of archives that whether Warhol was sketching, painting, screenprinting, photographing, filming, writing, publishing, tape recording, videotaping, or speaking on the telephone, that his entire life was his work, and that as an artist he was obsessed with documenting experience.
THE LEADER OF THE BRAND: In this debut episode we experience the vulnerable and witty emotional core of the young artist, whose shoe drawings and, in collaboration with his mother, drawings of cats and angels, reveal an artist full of humor, tenderness, and whimsy. These qualities made the young Warhol a sensational success in the commercial field, but he craved the respectability of an Artist. Trading on his shyness and strange looks, he fashioned for himself a conceptual shell that, taken with his screenprints of everyday supermarket objects, stormed the Art establishment and challenged the hitherto unquestioned reign of the Abstract Expressionists.
SHOOTING STARS: in this film we explore Warhol’s shift from painting to film-making. No less radical in this area, he eschewed Hollywood conventions, setting up at The Factory his own rival East coast studio churning out films in which nothing happened. In his one reel three-minute screen tests he proved himself a true documentarian fascinated by the depths of nothingness, that would, years later, be the key ingredient of reality television. Meanwhile, to fund his experimental agenda Warhol also became a commercial portrait artist, charging wealthy patrons for flattering portraits that ,through their sheer number, became another vast work of social documentation. Warhol further capitalized on this shrewd business approach by taking on the management of seminal rock group The Velvet Underground, and playing host at the Factory to an outrageous coterie of people that his patronage alchemically transformed into superstars, culminating in an assassination attempt that he barely survived yet that set the seal on Warhol’s status as both a star and a brand. THE
SIXTEENTH MINUTE: In this final episode in the series we look at the way Warhol, perhaps to convince himself that he was alive (and to confound the critics who had written him off as a spent force), stepped up production in every field. He wrote books, published Inteview magazine, made television shows and did commercials. He painted everything from piss paintings to male nude torsos, collaberated with new artists like Haring and Basquait, and produced The Last Supper paintings exhibited months before his completely unexpected death. Through the subsequent establishment of two museums, the ‘official’ warhol museum in Pittsburgh and the family-funded effort in Medzilaborce, the film captures how Warhol survives today by being a figure of controversy as everyone who knew him battles for their image of Warhol as the image of Warhol. In this respect, and in the world around us, Warhol seems more alive than he ever was.
The series will air on Channel 4 UK beginning January 27th. It will air in the states on Bravo in May. The UK transmission will be heralded by four three minute slots on Warhol’s various obsessions; wigs, telephones, beauty treatments, and shopping.
Simultaneously the series ‘Andy Warhol: The Complete Picture’ will be promoted by a supremely warholian stunt consisting of a street exhibition from january 16th – 4th Febuary featuring over 50 different warhol artworks, each exhibited on a different billboard around London, turning the city into a virtual art gallery.
Director: Chris Rodley
Series Producer: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato
Co-Producer: Sarah Mortimer