Garbo Walks: Andy Warhol and the Crumpled Butterfly

Before Andy Warhol became the posthumously ubiquitous symbol of Fame itself, he consciously studied the fame of others. Settling into New York, the then window designer for the city's best stores modeled himself after the famously fabulous Truman Capote. Capote tired of Andy, so Andy got a hint to pursue other celebrities, including Garbo. Even in his own looks he started to fashion himself into a reclusive movie star type, selecting an appropriate wig and some dark glasses.
"He got himself invited to a picnic with Greta Garbo. He was too shy to speak, so he drew a butterfly and handed it to her. “She looked at it bemused,” recalled another guest. “At the end of the day, she absent-mindedly crumpled it and left it behind. Andy picked it up and had his mother write on it, ‘Crumpled butterfly by Greta Garbo’.” - from an article by Joanna Pitman, Before the soup can, July 28, 2007, Times Online (UK)

From 1974 until his death, Warhol lived in a 30-room townhouse on East 66th Street. As Garbo walked through the neighborhood on her way to favorite stores and galleries along Madison, she probably strolled past his house many times. I can picture Warhol, by 1974 the most successful star-struck artist in the world and the one who understood the most about fame, peering down from a window and catching a glimpse of Garbo, the star who walked away from all that.

It's impossible to live in New York and be involved in the arts and not hear about Andy Warhol every single day. This year is the twentieth anniversary of his death, so Warhol-related events are happening in the city, and for that matter, all over the world.

Warhol died on February 22, 1987 at the age of 59. Garbo died three years later on April 15, 1990. She was 84.

A Couple of Warhol Links (out of the current Google count of 2,510,000):
Andy as Filmmaker: Unblinking Eye, Visual Diary: Warhol’s Films by Manohla Dargis, The New York Times, October 21, 2007

Andy as Better Investment Than the Subprime Market: Andy Warhol-based fund says art boom to go on by Jan Dahinten. Reuters UK Oct. 12, 2007.

A new book I'd like to read is titled The Warhol Economy: How Fashion, Art, and Music Drive New York City by Elizabeth Currid

Image: Photo Booth picture of some Garbo images using the Warhol effect option (WOTBA)

see full itinerary at Garbo Walks

No comments: