THE LIFE AND DEATH OF ANDY WARHOL by Victor Bockris
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THE LIFE AND DEATH OF ANDY WARHOL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Sympathetic, objective life of America's Pop master. Bockris digs up rare facts about the phantasmal Andy, finding the man in the boy. Born Andrei Warhola to a blue-collar Ruthenian family in the coal-dust hell of 1928 Pittsburgh, Warhol was a skirt-clinging mama's boy who year after year wept against entering school; was sickly and rheumatic with Saint Vitus' dance; white-haired and seemingly albino, cursed since adolescence by acne and a bulbous red nose (he was called ""Andy the red-nosed Warhola""); and known since childhood as an obsessed: and gilled artist. A soft-spoken, removed child, he got his emotional education from movies, began a collection of movie-star photos with an avidity that signalled the collecting manias that by bis death would swamp his Manhattan home with unopened shopping bags of junk and jewelry. In art school, he devised a blotted-line copying technique that removed his drawings one step from their originals, a removal he found safe and satisfying. That he overcame his shortcomings, or inverted them into strengths, is a marvel. Bockris (William Burroughs: Captured and Recorded, 1981) gives body to the platinum-wigged ectoplasmal creature in dark glasses who became America's cultural historian through the 60's, 70's and 80's and shows how Warhol screened his homosexual private life by not letting it filter into his art. In New York in 1960, he painted his breakthrough icons, two six-foot Coke bottles; within years, Andy's Factory mass-produced Warhols, he invented a stable of superstars and made films noted for sheer boredom, was shot three times by an angry woman scriptwriter (""It hurt so much, I wished I was dead""). As friends died, he took all deaths as less than mosquito bites, avoided funerals (even close buddy Capote's). His own was a Warhol: he was buried wearing shades. Spellbinding, with Andy often brilliant in his airy blankness.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Bantam