Andy Warhol Quits Painting, Manages The Velvet Underground (1965)

Dur­ing the ear­ly 1960s, Andy Warhol became an inter­na­tion­al celebri­ty when he pro­duced his icon­ic Pop Art works — 32 Camp­bel­l’s Soup Cans, the Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe Dip­tychGreen Coca Cola Bot­tles and all of the rest. The provoca­tive artist had achieved more than 15 min­utes of fame — he coined that phrase too — and it was time for some­thing new.

In ’65, Warhol took a break from paint­ing, immersed him­self in film­mak­ing and mul­ti­me­dia projects, then threw his influ­ence behind the up-and-com­ing NYC band, The Vel­vet Under­ground. He became the band’s man­ag­er and “pro­duced” their first album, which meant design­ing the album cov­er and giv­ing the band mem­bers (Lou Reed, John Cale, Ster­ling Mor­ri­son, Mau­reen Tuck­er and Nico) the free­dom to make what­ev­er album they pleased. (Lou Reed has more on that here.) As Bri­an Eno lat­er put it, the album, The Vel­vet Under­ground & Nico “only sold 10,000 copies, but every­one who bought it formed a band.” It was that influ­en­tial.

The clip above comes from the PBS Amer­i­can Mas­ters series, Andy Warhol — A Doc­u­men­tary Film and tells you more about Warhol’s patron­age of VU.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Steven Spiel­berg Admits Swal­low­ing a Tran­sis­tor to Andy Warhol

Warhol’s Screen Tests: Lou Reed, Den­nis Hop­per, Nico, and More

Andy Warhol Eats a Burg­er, and We Watch … and Watch

Sweet Jane: Then and Now

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  • Thanks to Andy, it was one of the most amaz­ing groups in the 60s.

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