warholstars.org

King Andy's German Conquest cont.
by Bob Colacello
(repr. from Village Voice, March 11, 1971, pp. 6, 8, 72)

page three

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The next day we were off to London. On the plane I began to sort out the reasons for Andy's overwhelming success in Germany and I believe that they fall into three categories, which loosely speaking might be labeled commercial, sociological and philosophical.

To begin with, Flesh and Trash seem to have very little commercial competition from the German industry, which, according to nearly everyone I spoke to, is rather moribund, turning out, as Jimmy Vaughan, Andy's European representative puts it, "schmaltzy sex films which always end up in church. "From a commercial point of view one must also credit Constantin-Film for an entirely tasteful, professional, and yet sensational publicity campaign.

But beyond the fact that nature - especially capitalist nature - abhors a vacuum, there is some quality in contemporary German society which finds its reflection in the paintings and films of Andy Warhol. The German love of modernity, and technology is particular, is a perfectly Pop attitude, absolutely identical to the attitude behind Andy's work.

Contrary to much critical opinion, Warhol and Morrissey do not intend to make any comment of the world they portray, but merely - and in this most activist age that merely becomes profound - accept things as they are, which is what Pop is all about. Life is seen not as a problem, but as a fact - something the Germans, weary of a history of problems, must find rather refreshing.

Paradoxically, this very deadpan and direct attitude at the core of the paintings and films allows the unlimited interpretation and analysis the philosophically oriented Germans so greatly enjoy. As the translator at the Berlin press conference put it, "We Germans think very highly of thinking," and, Lord knows, there is plenty of food for thought in the portraits of Marilyn or Trash to satisfy the most Germanic of appetites. Because Warhol denies nothing, excludes nothing, hates nothing, his work is open to everything - that is, everything the viewer wishes to bring to it. The Germans bring quite a bit - all sorts of political and social and aesthetic and metaphysical ideas: they like it; it keeps them thinking.

Above and beyond such considerations, however, there remains, always, the unique image of Andy Warhol himself. Darling of the media, he nevertheless remains mystery personified: the more they find out about him, the less they know. So... they come back for more. The Germans, it appears, are the latest and most severely hooked addicts yet.

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Postscript: Joe Dallesandro's brother, wife, and baby son greeted us upon our arrival at JFK. the baby, all of three months old, was wearing blue-jean slacks and jacket, just like his father, and was waving an American flag. Andy leaned toward me and asked "Do you think the baby's body is as photogenic as his father's?" - thereby providing both the perfect ending for my article and perfect introduction for Joe Junior, Superstar.

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