Netflix: The Andy Warhol Diaries
Irony is telling you in my last post that I don't make watching TV a priority and then writing my next post about something I just watched on Netflix!
Netflix released a documentary series called "The Andy Warhol Diaries" and it is based on a book I never knew existed with the same title. Andy Warhol was shot by a disgruntled acquaintance in 1968 (another thing I didn't know!). After that, he started recording his life by calling his assistant every morning and having her type a diary. The diary encompassed the years 1968 up to when Warhol died during a gallbladder operation in 1987. After his death, his assistant published the diaries with very few editor notes.
Here is what I learned and my takeaways from watching the series:
1). Warhol was a Pennsylvania boy born to immigrant parents. His parents were from present-day Slovakia and he grew up in Pittsburgh. There is also a museum all about him in Pittsburgh that I am now dying to go and visit.
2). He was very self-conscious about his looks. This is one of the reasons why he wore his famous white wigs so that his receding hairline was hidden. They had an artificial intelligence Andy Warhol voice reading from his diary. It was hard to hear in his own words about how ugly he thought he was.
3). His "Factory" was THE place to be in the sixties. I remember one of my college art history professors telling the class that she used to hang out at Warhol's Factory in New York City. I wasn't sure what that really meant at the time. I am kind of looking at my art history professor a little differently now! (RIP). All the cool kids hung out at the Factory during the sixties.
4). Watching Jean-Michel Basquait's story is like waiting for a train wreck to happen. I have been reading a lot about Basquait this year because I introduced my art students to him. Seeing film of him and how young he was when his art was introduced to the art world made me feel emotional at times. I kept on thinking "what a waste of talent".
He was only 27 when he died and there were times I wished that the ending would be different. I enjoyed learning more about his collaborations with Warhol and about their exhibition that failed to wow the critics and helped to damage their friendship.
5). Andy Warhol was lonely and sad at times. This was again hard to listen to. The A.I. Andy Warhol voice reading his diary on the series added emotion to the series. I don't think I would have had the same feeling if any other narrator would have narrated it. I kind of bonded with the AI voice and to hear how he fought loneliness and felt unloved was sad to hear. Nobody wants anyone to be sad and lonely.
6). Andy partying hard in middle age. Just hearing about his nightly outings to Studio 54 and other hangouts made me tired at times. I can't imagine how he had the stamina to hold his own with the younger crowd!
7). Andy Warhol's Portraits. I was amazed at the number of portraits that Andy did of celebrities. Most of them I had not seen before. It took me on a rabbit trail of looking through his body of work which is absolutely amazing.
8). I want a Polaroid camera now. Warhol was known for taking photos with his Polaroid. It made me yearn for the spontaneity of using one. If my kids are reading this(which I can guarantee they are not), Mom wants a Polaroid camera for her birthday.
Yes, I would recommend watching this series if you are even remotely interested in art and pop culture. I need to warn you though. This series contains graphic nudity. You have been warned.
As always, thanks for reading,