The Life and Death of Andy Warhol

Victor Bockris, Author
Victor Bockris, Author Bantam Books $21.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-553-05708-9
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
Warhol's life, as depicted here, can be read as a sinister fairy tale in which a peasant child is transformed into a prince of darkness--master of riches and of a bickering retinue--who nonetheless succumbs to a lonely, sad death. Bockris ( With William Burroughs ), who worked with Warhol from 1977 to 1981 on Interview magazine and other projects, provides a detailed and absorbing interpretation of the Warhol enigma based on interviews with family, friends and associates. Pittsburgh-born Andek Warhola is revealed as very much a creature of his mother's suffocatingly provincial upbringing; her naive old-world exterior hid a cunning and manipulative personality that shaped her son's character, according to the author. Relating how Warhol transcended his background to reach pop superstardom, Bockris describes the development of the Warhol esthetic and the shrewd business maneuvers that built his fortune. Most controversial is discussion of Warhol's personal relationships: by Bockris's lights, ``voyeur-sadist'' Warhol exercised extreme passivity and detachment to control people, subjugating and then spurning many, especially his gay lovers. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)
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