Arts / Galleries

Andy Warhol’s Secret Texas Crush

New Details on Pop Art Legend’s Lone Star State Love Affair

BY // 08.07.18

During the month of Andy Warhol’s birthday — born August 6, 1928, in Pittsburgh, he would have turned 90 this year — we probe the artist’s Texas connections. (See Warhol’s eternal live graveside webcam here.)

Many of Warhol’s Texas ties have or are being forgotten with the passing of time, but they involve significant museums — the nascent beginnings of The Menil Collection and the Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University — tony collectors, and important art spaces, such as Houston’s Texas Gallery. There’s even a sighting at the premiere of one of the most iconic movies ever filmed in Houston.

In an exclusive for PaperCity, we asked one of the Texas dealers who knew the late Pop artist best, and exhibited him, the unerring Fredericka Hunter of Texas Gallery, to share her personal memories of Andy.

“It was a very nice moment in time indeed, and none of the franticness of celebrity-dom now,” recalls Hunter via email

Reflecting back upon a show that happened 40 years ago, the dealer writes, “At the behest of Andy’s business manager and native Houstonian, Fred Hughes, we were asked to host the exhibition of Andy Warhol’s series of paintings, “Athletes” [April 2 to April 29, 1978].”

Hunter continues, “We had an afternoon reception and Andy signed, as he always did, copies of the latest Interview Magazine, which made things much easier for him than having to talk to people. Many of Andy’s friends had come from out of town, in particular  from Los Angeles, since the businessman, Richard Weisman had commissioned the portraits.


The Pop king touched down for an exhibition at Texas Gallery in 1978. Shown with gallery co-owner Ian Glennie, Warhol signed Interview Magazine covers. (Photo Suzanne Paul, courtesy the artist’s estate and Deborah Colton Gallery)

“Andy was comfortable in Houston due to previous patronage by the Menils and private collectors who had commissioned their own portraits.

“So the afternoon was lively, crowded and relaxed, with children and dogs, artists and collectors and fans. The weather was nice, so people were inside and outside chatting and milling about.

“Andy was a celebrity but it wasn’t a feeding  frenzy, though due to past experiences, we did have an off -duty policeman at the door,  but he was really hardly noticeable and certainly had nothing to do… Now at “Raid the Icebox” [October 1969, an exhibition curated byWarhol at Rice University’s Institute for the Arts, selected from the RISD Museum], I think there was a scrum that pushed Andy against the wall and caused some panic, but we were conscious of having a barrier (our trusty front desk)  between him and the guests.

“And Andy seemed relaxed, signed everything presented, including someone’s breast and someone else’s arm as well as a tomato soup can.

“He smiled a lot and joked with us all.  He was a very good artist, a very smart man. and a very cool person. What a privilege.”

Now Warhol’s personal appearance and exhibition 40 years ago in Houston will be preserved for posterity — including the photo snapped that day by the late Houston lenswoman Suzanne Paul —  in the next installment of the Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné by Neil Printz.

For more on Andy Warhol in Texas, scroll through the photo slideshow above this story.

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