Nothing special: Warhol’s childhood scrapbook

Andy Warhol’s Childhood Scrapbook may be understood as the germ of a number of themes and obsessions that underscore the majority of Warhol’s adult life from the fascination with Hollywood and stardom to the way in which the scrapbook is organised through uniformity, seriality, and an overt mechanical reproduction through the mass produced studio portraits of film stars.

Self-portrait in Drag

With her cropped blonde wig and horizontal striped shirt, it seems as if Cindy Sherman is impersonating Andy Warhol impersonating a woman: heads cocked back, full slightly parted lips, and cool unwavering stares, although Warhol’s seems a bit more vacant. Sherman’s character is just as beautiful, but she knows it; maybe she has had more practice.

Ethel Scull 36 Times

Warhol took Ethel Scull to an amusement arcade in Times Square and photographed her in a photo booth, creating twenty-four sheets of photographs. She initially protested but gradually began to enjoy herself, at least partly because Warhol was continuously tickling her. Ethel Scull reportedly said “What I liked about it mostly was that it was a portrait of being alive.”

Electric Chair

The electric chair was first used by Warhol in 1964 in his Little Electric Chair series. These pieces were of the whole execution room. He cropped the image down to just the chair for the 1967 paintings then used the image again in 1971 in a portfolio of ten screenprints, these being known as Big Electric Chair, and finally once more in 1985.

Edie Sedgwick

Some have argued that Andy took my short life away. Or at least that he didn’t “save me.” In every parallel universe I’ve been able to visit these 42 years since my death, I’m sorry to have to report that Edie always dies young. It’s only in the universes where Edie meets Andy, that Edie ever really matters. It’s only in the universes where I meet Andy that I ever really live.