Andy’s Retrospective @ Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia

That Philadelphia exhibition of Andy’s was one of the most bizarre mob scenes I’ve ever witnessed… It was the first survey of all his work… It was crazy. It was the first time I saw a young avant-garde artist have a show mobbed as if it were a movie premiere… all kinds of people clamoring to get at Andy as if he were a star.

— Walter Hopps

Andy Warhol Retrospective, ICA Philadelphia, 1965: Black-and-white photograph of an SRO crowd chanting "Edie and Andy!" as they press against the stars who retreat up a staircase.

Me on the staircase, with Andy just behind in the crowd, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, October 8, 1965

Perhaps the greatest triumph of that year [1965] for both Edie and Andy was the Warhol Philadelphia exhibition. For the preview [Oct 7] the press came with their TV cameras. It was the biggest thing that happened in Philadelphia ever… The TV lights in the crush began to fall into the paintings and tear them; people were crushed up against them.

I realized that the public opening the next night [Oct 8] was going to be even more frantic. At the last minute I decided the only thing to do was take down all the pictures so the paintings wouldn’t be ruined. So the grand opening was in fact just people! Edie was wearing a Rudi Gernreich dress, a long thing like a T-shirt with sleeves that must have been 20 feet long, rolled up and bunched at the writs. Then, in this incredible performance, she began baiting the audience: she began to let her sleeves down over the crowd like an elephant’s trunk and then to draw them up again… teasing the crowd and working them up. And dancing and talking into the microphone, giving interviews.

Edie was astonishing. She was really in show business, giving all those people something to look at… and it was crucial because they had been getting more and more unruly for hours, angry, first of all, because there were no pictures on the wall. So she, in fact, became the exhibition. Andy was just terrified, white with fear. Edie was scared to death but she was adoring every minute. She was in her element. She carried on this sort of 40-minute soliloquy into the microphone. She called out to them:

— Sam Green, ICA Director

Andy Warhol Retrospective, ICA Philadelphia, 1965: black-and-white photo of Edie Sedgwick in a floor-length t-shirt-dress with very, very long sleeves

Edie Sedgwick, 1965

Oh, I’m so glad you all came tonight, and aren’t we all having a wonderful time? And isn’t Andy Warhol the most wonderful artist!

— Edie Sedgwick

Tags: , ,

No comments yet. Be the first!

What do you think, factory girl?

Get in touch

Creative Commons Attribution, 2016