Imagine: Season 6, Episode 6

Warhol: Denied (24 Jan. 2006)

TV Episode  |   |  Documentary, History
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Alan Yentob ...
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Joe Simon ...
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Sam Green ...
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Gerard Malanga ...
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John Richardson ...
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Joe Simon battles Warhol Board
14 February 2006 | by (chicago) – See all my reviews

Weird world of Warhol Art Authentication Board Joe Simon bought a piece of Andy Warhol art for $195,000. But the seemingly capricious Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board deemed it not to be Warhol's work, even though it OKs questionable mass-produced stuff from the Warhol Factory.

The Manhattan-based art historian John Richardson, a friend of Warhol's, owns several paintings that Warhol gave to him as presents, but says he wouldn't "dare submit these things to the board for fear of being told they're not by Andy". The Authentication Board's judgments seem so capricious that you wonder if its work isn't some kind of performance art, a deathbed prank bequeathed by Warhol to make a continuing mockery of the art establishment.

Richardson, in any case, queries the very concept of authenticity in relation to an artist who mass-produced art the way Warhol did — and who did it so shamelessly that he even named his studio The Factory. "He used to do these silk screens," Richardson explains, "and assistants would come in at night and run off a few copies for themselves. But did that make them any less authentic than the ones they ran off for Andy during the day?"

Not only did Warhol mass- produce art, he often couldn't be bothered to sign it. So friends stepped in; with surreal consequences. "I've heard that Sotheby's will authenticate an 'S&H Green Stamp' poster if it has my forged Andy Warhol signature on it," says Warhol's friend, Sam Green. "If somebody else has forged the signature, then it's not an Andy Warhol."


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