Last Wednesday evening brought together a collection of Andy Warhol associates and Factory regulars to the New York Public Library to celebrate Christopher Trela’s re-release of John Wilcock’s book, The Autobiography and Sex Life of Andy Warhol. The newly designed book consists of a selection of interviews documenting the early Factory years through the words of those who lived them – illustrated with Warhol reproductions and photographs by Harry Shunk.
Dr. Steven Watson moderated the panel - in the small and overcrowded NYPL auditorium - that consisted of Gerard Malanga, Taylor Mead, Gretchen Berg, John Wilcock, and Bibbe Hansen as they shared personal and often humorous stories of their experiences with Warhol. Despite the book’s title, though, little of the conversation concerned sex. Instead, the discussion leaned toward work; every one of the panelists worked with Warhol in some capacity – including Little Joey, who shared his story from the audience of going to work for Warhol at age 13. Hansen, who appeared in Warhol's Prison at age 14, noted that Warhol's studio was called the "Factory" and not the "Party" for a reason. The fact that Warhol invited the young (among varied others) into his world – like Malanga at 16 – speaks to his persistent consumption of people, information, and new ideas; he was "a receiver," as Wilcock related. Hansen offered perhaps the most concise description of the evening: "[Andy] wasn’t a person who sat around being interesting. He was interested.” This aspect of his legacy was most apparent throughout the evening.