Billy Name, once lover and close friend of Andy Warhol, took some of the most iconic photos of the artist’s famous The Factory. His work offers a rare insight into the close workings of an iconic artist and the images have become some of the most important documents of the Pop Art period.
Pop Art is having a real moment again, exhibition-wise. The Tate Modern has not only just opened its bold exhibition on non-Anglo American Pop Art, but they have also curated a free-to-enter collection of some of the era’s most iconic works.
Now you can add Serena Morton Gallery in Ladbroke Grove to that list as they’ve brought together some of Billy’s images into an effortlessly cool show, which includes numbered editions and original one of a kind vintage Factory era prints, complete with Factory stamp.
The romance between Billy and Andy didn’t last but their friendship remained. After visiting Billy’s apartment on the Lower East Side, Warhol asked him to decorate his new loft. So, for the first six months of the year, living in a tiny closet at the Factory, Billy was responsible for the legendary ‘silverizing’ of the space, covering every square centimetre in either silver foil or silver spray paint.
When Andy gave Billy a Pentax Honeywell 35mm camera, he took on the role of resident photographer and archivist. These images are the result of that trust and confidence Andy place din him. And such trust – which is unusual in most artists but especially from Andy Warhol – allows us this rare glimpse into a life and body of work that continues to fascinate.
The exhibition is, understandably, called Billy Name: The Silver Age. Working with Reel Art Press, who published Billy Name: The Silver Age in 2014, the show was produced in collaboration with Billy, and offers an extensive trip through Warhol’s world.
The photographs show the day-to-day happenings at the Factory with Andy, including visits from Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, Nico, Edie Sedgwick and Ivy Nicholson; filming Screen Tests and features like Chelsea Girls, Vinyl and My Hustler.
Just like my life, really. Maybe not. But with these photos, you can at least fantasise because it transports you right there.
Serena Morton II Gallery, London, to October 23, 2015
Nearest tube: Kensal Green or Ladbroke Grove.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 10am – 6pm, Saturday 11am – 4pm. All other times by appointment.
- Andy Warhol on payphone at World’s Fair, 1964 – silver Espon print, 16 x 21”, edition tbc
- Andy Warhol with giant Baby Ruth bars, 1966 – silkscreen, 20 x 14”, edition of 40
- Andy Warhol with silver Liz Taylor, silver Elvis, and Electric Chair paintings, 1964 – sil
- Edie Sedgwick screen test, eyes open, 1965 – silkscreen, 25 x 19”, edition tbc
- Jackie paintings at the Factory, 1964 – silkscreen, 19 x 25”, edition of 40
- Regency cinema Chelsea Girls marquee, 1966 – silkscreen 14 x 17.5”, edition of 40
- Susan Bottomley, International Velvet #1, 1966 – silkscreen 25 x 19”, edition of 40