John Waters On Asshole Paintings And Why Warhol Is The Most Influential Artist Of The Past 50 Years
LEGENDARY DIRECTOR JOHN WATERS TALKS TO PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER ABOUT ANDY WARHOL AND HOW HE WAS INFLUENCED BY HIS WORK
It’s hard to argue with the notion that Andy Warhol is the most influential artist of the past 50 years. John Waters tells the Pittsburgh City News it’s because “the soup can put the abstract expressionists out of business overnight.” Maybe not overnight (it took awhile for the soup cans to catch on), but I agree with the sentiment. It was perhaps the biggest colossal shift in art since Picasso made cubism famous. There was, of course, Duchamp before that and Manet before them all. Many consider Manet’s ‘Olympia’ to be the first modern painting. It was a scandal in Paris!
But anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself.
John tells the paper more on why he thinks Warhol is so influential, “Andy did so many great things. The movies to me are the only things that have not yet reached their top peak of success and influence. … I am convinced someday they will be considered as valuable and as important as the artwork. Because it was so radical to slow down movies, and make movies of really cute people on amphetamine talking fast … in slow motion.
That breaks every single rule of what commercial movies are. That’s why they’re so important and so witty, and so clever. And brilliant, yet almost impossible to watch. And that is what makes them true contemporary art.”
John explains why this aspect is so important, ” [They're] movies that don’t move. A lot of them are slowed down on purpose. Not the talky ones. But then people talking where they could never stop talking about subjects that were interesting to no one because they were on amphetamine. I find that incredibly smart and incredibly ahead of its time.”
John says that it was these elements that affected his films, “That was a huge influence on me. He also put gay people and drugs together for the first time! That was really important. He made it cool to be gay. Before, gay people were kind of square, in the ’50s. They got in drag as Miss America. Andy brought along Mario Montez, the great Mario Montez. And even [Warhol's] women were female impersonators. They were just female female impersonators, in a way.”
John is very knowledgeable about Warhol and he’s so funny to listen to, which makes the fact that you can pay $150 to get a private (30 people private) tour of the Andy Warhol Museum’s show, ‘Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, 50 Years’ led by John Waters himself! The next one will be on January 31st at 8:30pm. It’s billed as an ‘intimate gallery talk’ and is 30 minutes long. If you’re going to be in Pittsburgh on the 31st, you can buy tickets here.
John closes out the discussion by telling us about two Warhol pieces he owns, “I have a silver ‘Jackie’ print in my dining room that—it was this long ago—my girlfriend gave to me in high school, and it was a hundred dollars. And a hundred dollars was a lot then. …And I have a Warhol asshole painting, which was really fun to buy, because you went into the Foundation and they have it on an easel. It’s almost like in a movie, where they drape it. I got to write ‘asshole’ on the check for memo.”