As the Walker book buyer for the last eight years, I routinely come across unusual titles. I thought it would be interesting to blog these notable discoveries as I see them. Typically, I’m attracted to quirky material and seek out books that just haven’t been conceived before. During some recent scouting around for new titles for the shop, I came across one such incomparable volume. Warhol TV is a magazine-like publication that documents the exhibition of the same name held last winter at La Maison Rouge in Paris. Even with the countless exhibition catalogues and books devoted to Andy Warhol—some of which home in on just his fashion drawings, portraits of Jews, or motion pictures—there hasn’t been a book, until now, on his role with television.
As the father of artistic and social promotion, Andy Warhol used every means of communication to self-promote his reality. Photography, film, magazine, and paintings were employed to document and showcase his surroundings and the creative social scene. Turns out that Warhol also wasn’t shy about tapping into television, which only seems natural given its mass appeal and accessibility. It was the ultimate contemporary tool, a perfect platform for exposing his reality. Andy Warhol utilized all avenues of the medium from as early as 1964, when he made an imitation Soap Opera, to his guest appearance on Love Boat, in 1985. He was also an early adopter with cable, creating a program back in 1979 on the newly formed New York Cable Network, and his MTV show in 1985, Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes.
Warhol TV focuses on the artist’s involvement with television and the beautiful talent who were a part of his world. Marc Jacobs, Tama Janowitz, Kenny Scharf, Glenn O’Brian, and Brigid Berlin are just a few who recall their encounters with Warhol and TV. The most interesting feature in the book, besides the rare images, is Warhol’s television filmography listing episodes with such guests as Debbie Harry, Courtney Love, Steven Spielberg, Moon Zappa, Cindy Sherman and Pee Wee Herman. I can only imagine Andy’s relaxed, subtle reaction to the energetic Pee Wee.