27 January 2001
In this debut episode we experience the vulnerable and witty emotional core of the young artist, whose shoe drawings and, in collaboration with his mother, drawings of cats and angels, reveal an artist full of humor, tenderness, and whimsy. These qualities made the young Warhol a sensational success in the commercial field, but he craved the respectability of an Artist. Trading on his shyness and strange looks, he fashioned for himself a conceptual shell that, taken with his screenprints of everyday supermarket objects, stormed the Art establishment and challenged the hitherto unquestioned reign of the Abstract Expressionists.
3 February 2001
In this film we explore Warhol's shift from painting to film-making. No less radical in this area, he eschewed Hollywood conventions, setting up at The Factory his own rival East coast studio churning out films in which nothing happened. In his one reel three-minute screen tests he proved himself a true documentarian fascinated by the depths of nothingness, that would, years later, be the key ingredient of reality television. Meanwhile, to fund his experimental agenda Warhol also became a commercial portrait artist, charging wealthy patrons for flattering portraits that ,through their sheer number, became another vast work of social documentation. Warhol further capitalized on this shrewd business approach by taking on the management of seminal rock group The Velvet Underground, and playing host at the Factory to an outrageous coterie of people that his patronage transformed into superstars, culminating in an assassination attempt that he barely survived yet that set the seal on Warhol's status as both a star and a brand.
10 February 2001
In this final episode in the series we look at the way Warhol, perhaps to convince himself that he was alive (and to confound the critics who had written him off as a spent force), stepped up production in every field. He wrote books, published Inteview magazine, made television shows and did commercials. He painted everything from piss paintings to male nude torsos, collaborated with new artists like Haring and Basquait, and produced The Last Supper paintings exhibited months before his completely unexpected death. Through the subsequent establishment of two museums, the 'official' Warhol museum in Pittsburgh and the family-funded effort in Medzilaborce, the film captures how Warhol survives today by being a figure of controversy as everyone who knew him battles for their image of Warhol as the image of Warhol. In this respect, and in the world around us, Warhol seems more alive than he ever was.
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