Even in his wildest dreams, it’s hard to imagine that Andy Warhol ever expected to be as influential as he is today. Thirty years after his death, his paintings are blue-chip investments and his oft-misquoted pronouncements on fame and Popism predicted modern selfie culture with terrifying accuracy.
The Pittsburgh-born Warhol was a natural for New York; his assembly-line studio/notorious be-in space The Factory provided an important hub for a generation of NYC creatives and weirdos. In addition to his now-celebrated paintings, silk-screen prints, and sculptures, Warhol was deeply inclined toward more contemporary mass media, producing more than 60 movies in only six years. These experimental cinematic works run the gamut from the semi-narrative to the frankly abstract, but almost all his films bear the hallmarks of explicit (and often silly) insights into 1960s bohemia and, with some of his more gonzo single-shot films running as long as eight hours, a presumption of near-endless patience on the part of the viewer.
Following Warhol’s death in 1987, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Pennsylvania-based Andy Warhol Museum jointly took on the task of preserving the artist’s mammoth cinematic output. Warhol shot primarily in 16mm film, a format that limits where his work can be viewed in the digital age. Modern showings of these no-longer commercially accessible artifacts, like the notorious (and occasionally banned) Lonesome Cowboys and the charming vérité Screen Tests (costarring Surrealists and beatniks including Yoko Ono, Lou Reed, Cass Elliot, Salvador Dalí, and Allen Ginsberg), are generally limited to museum galleries.
That makes the newly opened, 120-seat Roxy Cinema’s three-day Popcorn and Pop Art series an extremely rare treat. Situated in Tribeca as part of the Roxy Hotel, the theater will be showing two 16mm Warhols a night in conjunction with the Andy Warhol Museum. September 20 will feature the aforementioned Lonesome Cowboys and Screen Tests; September 21 includes screenings of Face, an hour-long close-up of Factory regular Edie Sedgwick, and The Velvet Underground Tarot Cards, which focuses on the individual members of the iconic band having their fortunes read. The series ends on September 22 with two of Warhol’s most provocative works: the spit-take adventure satire Tarzan and Jane Regained…Sort Of (with a memorable cameo from Dennis Hopper) and the surprisingly SFW Blow Job, in which the title act takes place out of frame while we watch the increasingly disinterested receiver’s face for a half hour.
Why You Should Go: These challenging films rarely ever escape from the archives, but where better to celebrate the marriage of Pop Art and consumer culture than in the glamorous Roxy Cinema?
Andy Warhol Archival Film Series
Roxy Cinema in the Roxy Hotel
Cellar Level, 2 Sixth Avenue (between Beach and White Streets), Tribeca
Wednesday, September 20–Friday, September 22
$10 for each double feature
Let us arrange an after-work movie date for you! We won’t tell anybody if you hog the popcorn bucket for yourself.