April 21, 1964, established Andy Warhol’s studio, the Factory, as a hub of social life for New York’s hip and elite. Earlier that evening, Warhol had attended the opening of his second solo exhibition in New York at the Stable Gallery. The gallery had been filled with hundreds of Warhol’s box sculptures—Brillo Soap Pads, Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Campbell’s Tomato Juice, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and Del Monte Peach Halves—which Warhol had painted with his assistant over the previous two months. Mimicking assembly-line style methods of production within Warhol’s studio allowed for this massive amount of work to be accomplished in a short period of time. Within the gallery, the sculptures were stacked along walls and in the middle of rooms, a method of display recalling a storage room or warehouse and forcing visitors to navigate narrow or cramped spaces.
The Stable Gallery opening wasn’t as commercially successful as Warhol had hoped, but the night wasn’t over then. Stable Gallery owner Eleanor Ward and Warhol patron Ethel Scull had organized a big party at the Factory, and those invited traveled from the warehouse-like display of box sculptures within the Stable Gallery to the festivities at Warhol’s studio. The party guests, which included fellow Pop artists Roy Lichtenstein and Claes Oldenburg, were present for the debut of Warhol’s studio, which served as a social destination as well as a place for artistic production throughout Warhol’s career.
Warhol once said of his studio,
“Factory is as good a name as any. A factory is where you build things. This is where I make or build my work. In my art work, hand painting would take much too long and anyway that’s not the age we live in. Mechanical means are today, and using them I can get more art to more people. Art should be for everyone.”
Similarly, my workplace will transform into a social destination this Saturday at the opening of Andy Warhol Enterprises. Come see the IMA’s reinterpretation of a Factory-style party on October 9th, where you can review the exhibition before the public opening, then join the party in Pulliam Great Hall. Mod dress appreciated!
Filed under: Art