Friday, October 23, 2009

Andy's Velvet-Rope Goodbye

Photographer Christophe von Hohenberg revisited a seminal moment of the late '80s on Thursday during a signing and Q&A at Clic Gallery for his 2006 book, "Andy Warhol: The Day the Factory Died," that chronicled the artist's memorial back in 1987. Von Hohenberg says he was actually hired by Vanity Fair to "photograph who was wearing miniskirts at Andy's memorial." As it happened, no one was. So instead he decided to cover the entire event -- a veritable who's who of the New York society, fashion, music and art scenes. The story never ran, but nearly 20 years later, von Hohenberg's photos along with letters by Warhol friends written about the artist were put together for "Andy Warhol: The Day the Factory Died." That it's been nearly 22 years amazes me. I can still remember where I was when I got the news like it was yesterday -- dancing with friends at Graffiti's nightclub in Tempe, Arizona. I remember the distinct feeling that part of my New York dream had died, knowing I would never get the chance to cross paths with him when I finally made it to the city. (I felt the exact same way when Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis died.)

Warhol's Memorial Service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on April 1, 1987, was just the kind of star-studded event Andy would not have missed for the world. In addition to speakers Yoko Ono and Picasso biographer John Richardson, attendants included David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, Keith Haring, Robert Mapplethorpe, Francesco Clemente, Julian Schnabel, Debbie Harry, Diane von Furstenberg, Bianca Jagger, Halston, Liza Minnelli, Paloma Picasso, George Plimpton, Ahmet Ertegun, Dominick Dunne, Henry Geldzahler, Claus von Bulow, Leo Castelli, Holly Solomon, Steven Sprouse and many others. Some of my favorite photos from the book follow:

Stephen Sprouse and Debbie Harry

Diane von Furstenberg; Halston and Liza Minnelli; Calvin and Kelly Klein

Claus von Bulow

Bianca Jagger

Sarah Giles, Susie Hayes and Dominick Dunne; Ian and Rita Schrager; Steve Rubell and Robert Isabell

Robert Mapplethorpe

Debbie Harry and Chris Stein at a lunch party that was held later at Steve Rubell's new club, 15 West 46th Street.


nojarama said...

I shall never forget the day he died. I'm still mourning...

Frank said...

I so identify with your comments about someday crossing paths with Andy W. and Jackie O. I didn't feel that way so much about Andy but did about Jackie O. I don't live in New York and haven't been there much in the past few years but had always hoped I would see her on the street when visiting the Big Apple. I live in Toronto and used to go to NYC at least once a year.You are the first person to ever articulate the feeling/experience I had when she died. Andy Warhol and Jackie O were part of the mystique and glamour of Manhattan to me as an outsider who saw NYC has a kind of Emerald City.