“Billy’s photos were the only thing that ever came close to capturing the feel of the 1960s Silver Factory.” - Andy Warhol
Billy Name: The Silver Age is a collection of Billy Name’s iconic black and white photographs from Warhol’s Factory. Billy’s images from this period (1964-68) are one of the most important photographic documents of any single artist in history.
Serena Morton II Gallery presents Billy Name: The Silver Age this September, the first time this work has been exhibited in the UK. Working with Reel Art Press, who published Billy Name: The Silver Age in 2014, the show is produced in collaboration with Billy, and offers an extensive trip through Warhol’s world. Billy photographed the day-to-day happenings at the Factory with Andy, including visits from Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, Nico, Edie Sedgwick, Ivy Nicholson and Bob Dylan; filming Screen Tests and features like Chelsea Girls, Vinyl and My Hustler.
On January 28, 1964, Warhol’s datebook notes, “New Studio 231 East 47th.” The space, a narrow floor-through loft overlooking the street from the fourth floor of an industrial building in midtown Manhattan would become, The Silver Factory —a microcosm of the sixties and a focal point of avant-garde history. For Andy Warhol, 1964 would prove to be his watershed year. It was the year that he reinvented himself and shifted his persona from that of a commercial artist to the King of Pop.
After visiting Billy’s apartment on the Lower East Side, Warhol asked him to decorate his new loft. So, for the first six months of the year, living in a tiny closet at the Factory, Billy was responsible for the legendary ‘silverizing’ of the space, covering every square centimeter in either silver foil or silver spray paint. When Andy gave Billy a Pentax Honeywell 35mm camera, he took on the role of resident photographer and archivist.
This body of work begins with photographs documenting the very first months of the Silver Factory in 1964. We see the works Andy made: the Most Wanted Men, the Box Sculptures, the Jackies, the Marilyn’s, the Self-Portraits, the Flowers; the films he shot: Soap Opera, Couch, Harlot, Batman Dracula, Henry Geldzahler, Mario Banana (No. 1 and No. 2), Jill Johnston Dancing and numerous Screen Tests (in 1964 he also made Eat, Blow Job, Kiss, Empire, Alan Marlowe/Diane di Prima, and Shoulder); and the company he kept: Gerard Malanga, Jane Holzer, Ivy Nicholson, Ray Johnson, Jill Johnston, Ivan Karp and Stephen Shore.
1965 was largely defined by Edie Sedgwick’s presence at the Factory and is presented here with images taken during the filming of three major films: Girls in Prison, Vinyl, and The Life of Juanita Castro. We also see behind the scenes: Edie teasing Gerard’s hair, the girls of Girls in Prison chatting nonchalantly between reels and note the appearance of celebrities such as Salvador Dali and Tennessee Williams.
From 1966 the social matrix of the Factory was defined by the activities of the Velvet Underground. Evident in the photographs is the atmosphere of dark glamour that epitomized the Factory during this period and embodied in songs such as “Venus in Furs”, “I’m Waiting for the Man”, “All Tomorrow’s Parties”, and “Heroin.”
These stunning images are one of the most important documents of the Pop Art era, and are now being exhibited in London for the first time. The exhibition will include numbered editions and original one of a kind vintage Factory era prints, complete with Factory stamp.
Exhibition Information: Billy Name: The Silver Age, 30th September – 23rd October at Serena Morton II Gallery, 345 Ladbroke Grove, London W10 6HA.
Nearest tube: Kensal Green or Ladbroke Grove. Opening hours Monday - Thursday 10am – 6pm, Friday 10am – 8pm, Saturday 11am - 4pm.
Gallery information: Serena Morton II is the new West London gallery devoted to exhibiting modern and contemporary photography. Opening on 28th September with Billy Name: The Silver Age, the gallery will exhibit Cuba: 1959, Photographs by Burt Glinn and Disco: The Bill Bernstein Photographs in Autumn/Winter 2015. The gallery is run by respected curator, artist agent and gallerist Serena Morton and photography curator David Hill. Serena Morton II is the third space in the Serena Morton portfolio of galleries in Ladbroke Grove, West London, sitting alongside the existing galleries dedicated to contemporary art and light art. For further information please visit www.serenamorton.com