Bill Wilson’s stories about Andy Warhol, Marisol, Ray Johnson, Dorothy Podber and the shot Marilyns

Subject: Re:Options                                      Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 6:34 PM
From: Bill Wilson               
To: Sofia Kofodimos 

[NOTE: The bracketed text below was included in Bill’s email to me and is probably his editing of the transcription. -SK 07.23.2016]

Thorsten’s transcription which needs invisible reweaving:

Torsten’s off-transcription
William S. Wilson talking about Andy Warhol

One night … I’m invited to a party. It’s on Canal Street. The elevator is an industrial elevator, the lighting is “Film Noir” – it’s very dark in those days, few street lights … And I’m standing there, waiting and I see at a distance that Viva is approaching. If I meet a person, an artist, I [might] admire, I like to make a rather [further] formal composed statement of my admiration [in the whole senses]. And so when she was [got up] standing at an appropriate distance from me, I spoke to her and [problems: I met her and I [this isn’t right: said: “Viva, I want to make my statement.”] and I made my statement. And she said: “Go, find somebody else to fuck!” [xxx Grace!] So we went up to the party and it was heavy. … She had wealthy men she had to be nice to and I thought I can’t take this. So I went to the kitchen, a very long kitchen, at the end of it, it was a stool [stall]. I thought, oh, my God, I’m alone at this nice little party and I’m sitting … And I took a breath and in came Andy Warhol. And we picked up with just ordinary talk. He never talked in that wispy way, he never said “Oh, I don’t know.” … We knew the same people in Pittsburgh, and it would have been too fake. He knew that. We are sitting there and the door opens – I can’t even be alone at a party – and in comes Marisol. And Marisol steps forward and she says [speaking in a high THIN voice] “Oh, Andy, I want to ask you: I have grey shoes and my stockings are in a different grey, my skirt is grey and my belt is grey, my blouse [bra] is grey. And I want ask you about these greys.” I think I have died and gone to heaven. I’m with Marisol and Andy Warhol discussing grey. There is no more profound topic in my life than shades of grey. … I knew her but Andy was the star. Anyway, she just didn’t see me and I can be very quiet. … ?Thus [This] was Andy consulted about Marisol’s shades of grey and of course he was very pleasant and he thought it was just perfect. He might have say “fabulous”, but I’m not sure if he did.

Early 1964 I drive Ray uptown in my little car to a party in the apartment of Iris [Dr Iris Love ???] – she discovered the head of Aphrodite [Alfred ???] in the basement of some Italian Museum – and we go up, party people are in that room – in the foyer. Ray and I enter the foyer. Andy comes rushing out of the group of people in there, guides Ray into the bedroom. I’m standing in the foyer, I don’t go in to these other people. … I just stand there and wait. After a ??? of time the door opens and Ray rushes without looking, no goodbyes, takes me by the elbow, “We’re getting out of here! We’re ditching ? [digging] this joint!” And we are outside and back in my little car and Ray whose [who’s] moods I knew in the finest gradations of grey and other colors … Wow, he is furious! Andy has taken him into the bedroom and told him, he would pay him for an idea. He’s been commissioned to make a work for the World’s Fair, he does not have any ideas, if Ray provides him with an idea, he will pay him. Now you have to understand … Andy knew Ray’s attitude about money. In the late 1950s Merce Cunningham asked artists for works of art to show and sell to raise money for the Merce Cunningham Foundation. And when I went to that show at Leo Castelli’s Gallery … In the show to raise money to sell a work of art for someone else to profit on Ray’s art, what Ray has offered is a rather deep box frame with one penny at the bottom of the frame leaning against the back wall. And that’s Ray Johnson commenting about art and money – he did not think that anyone should take money from the art of somebody else.

That story about the shooting has never been told correctly because people are careful for their friends … They don’t want to get people into trouble. … Dorothy never told that story right. … Later Dorothy improved the story – that’s not unusual – where she said, “I’ve come to shoot some pictures”, meaning with a camera shooting pictures. Not true! … What happened is that Ray took Dorothy Podber to Andy’s Factory. He didn’t know she had a gun. Ray did not repeat stories – this one he repeated three times, once to me but then other people involved, other events, and he acted it out, and I remember exactly where he was sitting – he played both parts. He and Dorothy were sitting in chairs. Billy Name was there and Andy was there, and the Marilyns are over there to the left. And according to Ray Dorothy took the pistol out and shot. …

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