|The Andy Monument (2011) by Rob Pruitt|
(my photo, as are all subsequent images)
Rushing around New York City the last day of my trip, I was determined to find the new monument dedicated to Andy Warhol that I had read about a few days before leaving Vancouver. Created by artist Rob Pruitt and unveiled at the end of March, the 10 foot tall silver statue is placed in front of the last version of Warhol's famed Factory studio in Union Square operating in the 1970's and 80's (the original Factory operated on East 47th Street from 1962-1967). For those of you who have lived in or visited New York, you know how busy this part of the city can get (especially on weekends) and how vast the square actually is, so it was very difficult to find among the crowds on the weekend. I gave up and returned Monday morning to look for it and nearly gave up again until I finally saw the top of Andy’s silver head peeking out at the end of a very long corridor of food vendors set up at a farmers market near 17th and Broadway.
There he stood, Bloomingdale’s shopping bag in hand, a Polaroid camera around his neck, hanging out in a relaxed stance without much interest from local passers-by. That was of course until I started photographing him. And then, just as Warhol would have predicted himself, the buzz of celebrity and recognition hit the crowd. “It’s Andy” a man whispered to a child holding his hand, “he made really cool art.”
Doing some research, it turns out this was the same spot Warhol used to stand handing out free copies of Interview
magazine and was also very close to the place he was shot in 1968 by Valerie Solanas. Pruitt began making the statue last October and completed it, according to an interview he did with New York Post
, through a combination of hand sculpting and digital scanning of both a live model and photos of Warhol. As Pruitt explains, “Warhol would tell friends, ‘Death is like going to Bloomingdale's because it's heavenly.’” For now the monument is on temporary display until October, but Pruitt hopes to see the monument find a permanent home in the same part of New York that helped shape Warhol’s career. For more information about the artist Rob Pruitt (written by James Franco
no less), see this link