Billy Name

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Billy Name
Billy Name (Greenman) by David Shankbone.jpg
Billy Name
Born William Linich, Jr.
(1940-02-22) February 22, 1940 (age 75)
Poughkeepsie, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Known for photographer, filmmaker, lighting designer, archivist

Billy Name, (born William Linich, Jr., February 22, 1940 in Poughkeepsie, New York), is an American photographer, filmmaker and lighting designer. He was the archivist of the Warhol Factory, from 1964 to 1970.[1][2] His brief romance and subsequent friendship with Andy Warhol led to substantial collaboration on Warhol's work, including his films, paintings and sculpture. Linich became Billy Name among the coterie known as the Warhol Superstars. He was responsible for "silverizing" Warhol's New York studio, the Factory,[3] where he lived until 1970. His photographs of the scene at the Warhol Factory and of Warhol himself are important documents of the Pop art era.

In 2001, the United States Postal Service used one of Billy Name's portraits of Warhol when it issued a commemorative stamp of the artist.[4] Name also has collaborated with Shepard Fairey with his photograph of Nico, singer with the Velvet Underground and part of the social circle of Warhol's Factory. He photographed the covers to White Light/White Heat and the third album as well as the photographs in the gatefold sleeve to The Velvet Underground and Nico in tandem with fellow Warhol associate Nat Finkelstein.

Career in theater[edit]

Prior to his association with Warhol, Name had worked in theatrical lighting design. Name began his career as a lighting designer in the theater in 1960, while working as a waiter at Serendipity 3.[5] His first apprenticeship was with Nick Cernovich, who had won an Obie Award for best lighting. "It was the end of the period of the romantic avant-garde bohemia, when artists kept younger artists and a male artist would always have a young man around." Under the tutelage of Cernovich, he co-designed the lighting for the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds in 1960. Name later designed lighting at Judson Memorial Church, New York Poets Theater and the Living Theater, illuminating the likes of dancers Lucinda Childs, Yvonne Rainer, Merce Cunningham and Fred Herko.

Name significantly influenced Warhol's work. As Warhol would later explain: "[He] had a manner that inspired confidence. He gave the impression of being generally creative, he dabbled in lights and papers and artists materials...I picked up a lot from Billy." (Warhol & Hackett,The Warhol Diaries)

Name also played music in the group Theatre of Eternal Music under the direction of La Monte Young.[6]

Collaboration with Andy Warhol[edit]

Name was responsible for taking still photographs at the Factory.[7] Indeed, Name lived and worked at the Factory, having taken up residence in a closet at the back of the studio, at 231 East 47th Street. With the gift of Warhol's 35 mm single-lens reflex Honeywell Pentax camera, along with its operating manual, Name taught himself the technical aspects of photography. He converted one of the Factory bathrooms into a darkroom, where he mastered methods of processing and developing film. These newly acquired skills, combined with his background in lighting and experimental approach to his work, resulted in a body of work which captured the "silver years" at the Factory (1963–70).

Name's close friendship with Warhol - and his role in creating Warhol's artistic environment - provided him with a unique perspective of the Factory, with a particular focus on a core group of "superstars", who largely improvised before the camera. Name's understanding of theater and lighting was an important influence on the look and ambience of the Factory and of Warhol's early films.

Quotations of Name[edit]

  • "I have a huge appetite for learning everything about the whole field of Zen and astrology and yoga."[8]
  • "It was the Cardboard Andy, not the Andy I could love and play with. He was so sensitized you couldn't put your hand on him without him jumping. I couldn't even love him anymore, because it hurt him to touch him." Name on the change in Warhol after he was shot by Valerie Solanas; Name held a bleeding Warhol in his arms while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.[9]
  • "If Beethoven would have written a second opera, he probably would have called it 'Romantika.'" 2002, referring to Blake Nelson Boyd's visual opera "Romantika." shown at galleries and museums.

Quotations about Name[edit]

  • "Billy Name exquisitely transforms sexploitation into glamour, and the 'nudie' into a work of beauty." Debra Miller, on Billy Name's stills from the 1967 Warhol film The Nude Restaurant.[citation needed]
  • "B. Linich is like a dog, a poodle--one does not have to have the same responsibilities towards him as towards other people--he is loved for the reasons a poodle is loved." Soren Angenoux[8]
  • "Billy Linich arrived [at Diane di Prima's California home] the earliest and stayed the longest. Billy was at that time doing a bit of everything: writing, collaging, taking odd combinations of drugs, making mots that sounded way hipper than they probably were, and mostly looking wise with a little half-smile and crinkly eyes." Diane di Prima[8]

Billy Name is the "Billy" in the Velvet Underground's song "The Story Of My Life," written by Lou Reed (1969).

He is mentioned in Lloyd Cole's song "Cut Me Down", "I've been Billy Name and filled my pockets with sand" "Andy - I am not here anymore but I am fine. Love, Billy"

He is also mentioned by name in two songs to or about Andy Warhol, "Hello It's Me" and "Slip Away (A Warning)" from Songs for Drella, the album on which Reed and John Cale collaborated.

Present life[edit]

As of 2010, Name resides in his native Poughkeepsie, New York.[10]


  • All Tomorrow's Parties: Billy Name's Photographs of Andy Warhol's Factory, by Billy Name, Dave Hickey, and Collier Schorr; ISBN 1-881616-84-3 Distributed Art Publishers (DAP) (August 1997)
  • Billy Name: Stills from the Warhol Films by Debra Miller; ISBN 3-7913-1367-3 Prestel Pub (March 1994)
  • Scherman, Tony & Dalton, David, POP: The Genius of Andy Warhol, HarperCollins, New York, N.Y. 2009
  • Steven Watson, Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties (2003) Pantheon, New York

Collective exhibition[edit]

  • 2010: Les Rencontres d'Arles festival, France.


  1. ^ Kennedy, Randy (January 8, 2010). "In Search of an Archive of Warhol’s Era". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-10. 
  2. ^ Celebrity Portraits from the Warhol Factory Years, exhibition and catalog from the Irvine Contemporary gallery, Washington, DC.
  3. ^ Steven Watson, Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties (2003) Pantheon, New York, p. 123
  4. ^ "Billy Name's portrait of Warhol as US postage stamp". Retrieved 2015-06-27. 
  5. ^ Steve Watson, Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties (Pantheon Books, 2003).
  6. ^ Scherman, Tony & Dalton, David, POP: The Genius of Andy Warhol, HarperCollins, New York, N.Y. 2009, p. 188
  7. ^ Steven Watson, Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties (2003) Pantheon, New York, pp. 356-357 & 372-373
  8. ^ a b c Factory Made: Warhold and the Sixties, Steve Watson, Pantheon Books (2003)
  9. ^ Making the Scene: Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties by Steven Watson, Dennis Drabelle, Washington Post book review, November 16, 2003.
  10. ^ "In Search of an Archive of Warhol’s Era". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-06-27. 

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