Andy Warhol signing posters, with Viva and Dominique de Menil (seated at table), University of St. Thomas, Houston, 1968. (Courtesy Menil Archives, The Menil Collection, Photo Hickey-Robertson)
Andy Warhol, Lynn and Oscar Wyatt, and Diane Von Furstenberg, get down at Gilley's to celebrate the release of "Urban Cowboy," 1980. (Photo John Van Beekum)
Andy Warhol in Pop cool, signing posters, University of St. Thomas, Houston, in what would turn out to be a turbulent year for him and the country — 1968. (Courtesy Menil Archives, The Menil Collection, Photo Hickey-Robertson)
Andy Warhol and his Factory Superstar Viva, draw a packed house at the University of St. Thomas auditorium, Houston, 1968. (Courtesy Menil Archives, The Menil Collection, PhotoHickey-Robertson)
Via @wfmiddletonauthor: In 1969, Dominique and John de Menil were being given a tour of the Museum of Art, the Rhode Island School of Design. As they visited the galleries, they kept hearing a common refrain: "If you like that, you should see what we have in storage." Intrigued, they asked to go into the basement, where they discovered a trove of some 45,000 objects, most of which were never seen. John wondered what might happen if a contemporary artist were to go through the vaults, picking and choosing material to make an exhibition. John called Andy Warhol, who immediately accepted. "Raid the Icebox with Andy Warhol" (October 29, 1969 - January 4, 1970), at the Institute for the Arts at Rice University in Houston, was a Pop Art revelation. Here, the exhibition postcard. (Courtesy of Menil Archives, The Menil Collection, Houston)
Andy Warhol, Jane Forth, and Dominique de Menil with other guests, at the exhibition "Raid the Icebox 1 with Andy Warhol," at Rice Museum, Institute for the Arts, Rice University, 1969. (Courtesy Menil Archives, The Menil Collection, Photo Hickey-Robertson)
George Schrader, Patsy Nasher, Andy Warhol, at a reception in the artist's honor at the Nasher home, 1979. The Nashers commissioned Warhol to paint a portrait of Patsy, now in the collection of the Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University. (Courtesy exposureguide.com)
Ray Nasher with Warhol's portrait of his wife, Patsy, at his namesake Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University. (Courtesy and Collection Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University)
Warhol's 1976 portrait of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's grand benefactress, Caroline Wiess Law (Collection MFAH, bequest Caroline Wiess Law)
Mark Ellen Mark's portrait of Lynn Wyatt, 1983, with her Warhol double portraits, painted around 1980. (NYC / DACS / London)
Andy Warhol's portrait of the luminous Lynn Wyatt, as installed in the Wyatt home today. Wyatt remains unchanged from her likeness captured by the Pop master around 1980. (Courtesy Paddle 8)
Suzanne Paul's "Andy Warhol," circa 1980s. The place— a unidentified department store in Houston — and specifics, have been lost to the sands of time. Do you know? (Photo courtesy the artist's estate and Deborah Colton Gallery)
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.
“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.