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Warhol superstars

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Warhol superstars were a clique of New York City personalities promoted by the pop artist Andy Warhol during the 1960s and early 1970s.[1] These personalities appeared in Warhol's artworks and accompanied him in his social life, epitomizing his dictum, "In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes". Warhol would simply film them, and declare them "superstars".[2]


Ultra Violet (Isabelle Collin Dufresne) in February 2007

The first recognized superstar was Baby Jane Holzer, whom Warhol featured in many of his early film experiments. The superstars would help Warhol generate publicity while Warhol offered fame and attention in return. Warhol's philosophies of art and celebrity met in a way that imitated the Hollywood studio system at its height in the 1930s and 1940s.[3]

Among the best-known of Warhol's superstars was Edie Sedgwick.[4] She and Warhol became very close during 1965 but their relationship ended abruptly early in the next year. Warhol would continue to associate himself with people including Viva, Candy Darling, Ultra Violet, Nico and International Velvet.

Warhol's studio, The Factory, played host to most of his superstars and as his experiments in film continued he became more interested in the bohemian eccentrics attracted to the studio.[5] Some of the most important superstars to emerge from the period of the first Factory (known as the 'Silver Factory' because silver foil had been applied to the walls and ceilings) include Paul America, Ondine, Taylor Mead, Rolando Peña, Mary Woronov, Eric Emerson, Gerard Malanga, Billy Name, Brigid Berlin and Sappheo.

In the later films, made in collaboration with Paul Morrissey, Warhol brought in new superstars including Joe Dallesandro, Penny Arcade, Andrea Feldman, Jane Forth, Geraldine Smith, and Sylvia Miles. During this period, Warhol developed an increasing fascination with trans women and drag queens, and promoted Candy Darling, Holly Woodlawn and Jackie Curtis to superstar status.

Several of the superstars are mentioned in Lou Reed's song "Walk on the Wild Side".[6]

Warhol significantly reduced his public accessibility after being shot by Valerie Solanas in 1968. The age of the Warhol superstar soon faded.


The 1966 film Chelsea Girls, about life amongst the superstars at Hotel Chelsea, was notable for finding success beyond New York City underground arthouse scene.

The later Warhol/Morrissey collaborations Flesh, Trash, Heat, and Women in Revolt are more frequently screened.

List of Warhol superstars[edit]

Billy Name
Mary Woronov


  1. ^ Watson, Steven (2003), "Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties" Pantheon Books, pp. 10–12
  2. ^ David Denby (6 May 1996). New York Magazine, Vol. 29, No. 18, "Her Revolution". New York Media, LLC. p. 83. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
  3. ^ Watson, Steven (2003), "Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties" Pantheon Books, p. 177
  4. ^ Watson, Steven (2003), "Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties" Pantheon Books, pp. 210–217
  5. ^ Watson, Steven (2003), "Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties" Pantheon Books
  6. ^ Hann, Michael (7 December 2015). "Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side: what became of Candy, Little Joe and co?". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  7. ^ Staff (2021). "Andy Warhol Superstars". WarholStars.org. Retrieved 19 June 2021.
  8. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (18 June 2021). "Allen Midgette, an Ersatz Andy Warhol, Dies at 82 - In a prank, or perhaps a piece of performance art, Mr. Midgette pretended to be the famed artist on a lecture tour in 1967". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 June 2021.
  9. ^ Hass, Nancy (18 June 2021). "Brigid Berlin, Andy Warhol's Most Enduring Friend - Berlin, who died last year, was a great artist in her own right, and her New York apartment, which is being sold, is a window into a bygone era in the city's history". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  10. ^ a b c Rouvalis, Cristina (2 March 2020). "A Feminine Force - Carnegie magazine". Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. Retrieved 18 March 2024.
  11. ^ Harvey, Peter (3 August 1971). "Focus was on miss Miller". The Guardian. p. 5. Retrieved 18 March 2024.
  12. ^ "Ingrid Superstar". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 18 August 2013. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  13. ^ MacDonald, Sarah (28 October 2015). "Who were Andy Warhol's Superstars? A guide to underground cinema's mysterious muses". Fashion. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  14. ^ "Paul America". warholstars.org. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
  15. ^ De Oliveira, A.; Parra G., C. (August 2015). POP (Peña, Obregón, Perna) (in Spanish). Madrid, Spain: Galería Odalys & Fundación D.O.P. p. 19.

External links[edit]