Excerpts from ‘The Philosophy of Andy Warhol’
Updated: May 23, 2020
I finally received my Amazon order today after three weeks – Peets Keurig pods and a few books. It’s only been two hours since I started reading ‘The Philosophy of Andy Warhol’ and I can safely say that this is one of the most enjoyable books.
Here are some excerpts from the first few chapters (for now):
“I’m sure I’m going to look in the mirror and see nothing. People are always calling me a mirror and if a mirror looks into a mirror, what is there to see?”
“When I look in the mirror, I only know that I don’t see myself as others see me.”
“I’ll tell you about your scars. I think you produced Frankenstein just so you could put your scars in the ad. You put your scars to work for you. I mean, why not? They’re the best things you have because they’re proof of something. I always think it’s nice to have the proof.”
“At a certain point in my life, in the late 50s, I began to feel that I was picking up problems from the people I knew. One friend was hopelessly involved with a married woman, another had confided that he was homosexual, a woman I adored was manifesting strong signs of schizophrenia. I had never felt that I had problems, because I had never specifically defined any, but now I felt that these problems of friends were spreading themselves onto me like germs.
I decided to go for psychiatric treatment, as so many people I knew were doing. I felt that I should define some of my own problems—if, in fact, I had any—rather than merely sharing vicariously in the problems of friends.”
“But when I was eighteen a friend stuffed me into a Kroger's shopping bag and took me to New York. I still wanted to be close with people. I kept living with roommates thinking we could become good friends and share problems, but I'd always find out that they were just interested in another person sharing the rent. At one point I lived with seventeen different people in a basement apartment on 103rd Street and Manhattan Avenue, and not one person out of the seventeen ever shared a real problem with me. They were all creative kids, too—it was more or less an Art Commune— so I know they must have had lots of problems, but I never heard about any of them. There were fights in the kitchen a lot over who had bought which slice of salami, but that was about it. I worked very long hours in those days, so I guess I wouldn't have had time to listen to any of their problems even if they had told me any, but I still felt left out and hurt.”
“The things I remember most about those days, aside from the long hours I spent working, are the cockroaches. Every apartment I ever stayed in was loaded with them. I'll never forget the humiliation of bringing my portfolio up to Carmel Snow's office at Harper's Bazaar and unzipping it only to have a roach crawl out and down the leg of the table. She felt so sorry for me that she gave me a job.”
“This is when I started realizing how insane people can be. For example, one girl moved into the elevator and wouldn't leave for a week until they refused to bring her any more Cokes. I didn't know what to make of the whole scene. Since I was paying the rent for the studio, I guessed that this somehow was actually my scene, but don't ask me what it was all about, because I never could figure it out.”
“In the 60s everybody got interested in everybody else. Drugs helped a little there. Everybody was equal suddenly— debutantes and chauffeurs, waitresses and governors. A friend of mine named Ingrid from New Jersey came up with a new last name, just right for her new, loosely defined show-business career. She called herself "Ingrid Superstar." I'm positive Ingrid invented that word. At least, I invite anyone with "superstar" clippings that predate Ingrid's to show them to me. The more parties we went to, the more they wrote her name in the papers, Ingrid Superstar, and "superstar" was starting its media run. Ingrid called me a few weeks ago. She's operating a sewing machine now. But her name is still going. It seems incredible, doesn't it?
In the 60s everybody got interested in everybody.
In the 70s everybody started dropping everybody.
The 60s were Clutter.
The 70s are very empty
When I got my first TV set, I stopped caring so much about having close relationships with other people. I'd been hurt a lot to the degree you can only be hurt if you care a lot. So I guess I did care a lot, in the days before anyone ever heard of "pop art" or "underground movies" or "superstars."
"So in the late 50s I started an affair with my television which has continued to the present, when I play around in my bedroom with as many as four at a time. But I didn't get married until 1964 when I got my first tape recorder. My wife. My tape recorder and I have been married for ten years now. When I say "we," I mean my tape recorder and me. A lot of people don't understand that.
The acquisition of my tape recorder really finished whatever emotional life I might have had, but I was glad to see it go. Nothing was ever a problem again, because a problem just meant a good tape and when a problem transforms itself into a good tape it's not a problem any more. An interesting problem was an interesting tape. Everybody knew that and performed for the tape. You couldn't tell which problems were real and which problems were exaggerated for the tape. Better yet, the people telling you the problems couldn't decide any more if they were really having the problems or if they were just performing.
During the 60s, I think, people forgot what emotions were supposed to be. And I don't think they've ever remembered. I think that once you see emotions from a certain angle you can never think of them as real again. That's what more or less has happened to me.
I don't really know if I was ever capable of love, but after the 60s I never thought in terms of "love" again.
However, I became what you might call fascinated by certain people. One person in the 60s fascinated me more than anybody I had ever known. And the fascination I experienced was probably very close to a certain kind of love.”
"I get very nervous when I think someone is falling in love with me. Every time I have a romance I'm so nervous I bring the whole office with me. That's usually about five to six people. They all come to pick me up and then we go to pick her up. Love me, love my office."
"I really don't care that much about Beauties. What I really like are Talkers. To me, good talkers are beautiful because good talk is what I love. The word itself shows I like Talkers better than Beauties, why I tape more than I film. It's not "talkies." Talkers are doing something. Beauties are being something. Which isn't necessarily bad, it's just that I don't know what they're being. It's more fun with people who are doing things."
"The wrong people always look so right to me. And when you've got a lot of people they're all "good," it's hard to make distinctions, the easiest thing is to pick the really bad person. And I always go for the easiest things, because if it's the easiest, for me it's usually the best."
"Some people say Paris is more aesthetic than New York. Well, in New York you don't have time to have an aesthetic because it takes half the day to go downtown and half the day to go uptown.
Then there's time in the street, when you run into somebody you haven't seen in, say, five years, and you play it all on one level. When you see each other and you don't even lost a beat, that's when it's the best. You don't say "What have you been doing?" - you don't try to catch up. Maybe you mention that you're on your way to the 8th street to get a frozen custard and maybe they mention which movie they're on their way to see, but that's it. Just a casual check-in. Very light, cool, off-hand, very American. Nobody's fazed, nobody's thrown out of time, nobody gets hysterical, nobody loses a beat. That's when it's all good. And then when somebody asks you whatever happened to so-and-so you just say, "Yes, I saw him having a malted on 53rd Street." Just play it all on one level, like everything was yesterday."