Three “Anti-Films” by Andy Warhol: Sleep, Eat & Kiss

We recently told you the story. In the mid 60s, Andy Warhol quit painting rather abruptly and began some new adventures in multimedia. Taking a quick detour into music, Warhol became the manager, “producer” and overall patron of the up-and-coming band, The Velvet Underground. But film is where he focused his creative energies.

Between 1964 and 1966, the pop artist shot close to 500 short movies — or what he called “screen tests” — of friends, celebrities and models. (Find screen tests of Lou Reed, Nico, Edie Sedgwick, and Dennis Hopper here.) And then he shot a series of longer films, or rather “anti-films,” that challenged the conventions of filmmaking. No three act structures here. Above, we start you off with his first film, Sleep (1963). Originally Warhol wanted to make Brigitte Bardot the star, but he eventually settled for his friend John Giorno, and you get what the title promises. 40 silent minutes of Giorno’s long slumber.

Next in the loose trilogy comes Kiss, a 54 minute film built out of a series of shorter films. It’s all couples kissing. Men & women. Women & women. Men & men. And it’s all silent again.

Then we cap things off with Eat (1964), 40 minutes of watching the starving pop artist Robert Indiana gnaw on a raw mushroom and nothing more. The trilogy-ender was first screened at the Washington Square Gallery, along with another long-take film, Blow Job….

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Comments (7)
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  • Dhiraj says:

    He was about ‘presenting’ things rather than ‘representing’ things. This allowed him to be free of requirements of unique creation. ‘Representation’ entails an exclusivity of output. It is the artist’s interpretation of some object, event or process. A representation of female form will find expression in cubist reconstruction of Dora Maar in Picasso’s work or Odalisques of Matisse or sturdy physicality of Hussain’s nudes. These are customized creations which abhor mass production. Even portraits like Mona Lisa are not free of enigmatic intimacy of exclusive creation. But in Warholian universe even serigraph prints using silk screen technique is valid art because he is not representing but presenting.

  • Ted Vollers says:

    This is a waste of bandwidth and space on the server. And I did not even have to watch them to figure that out.

  • Warwick Moffat says:

    Interesting Dhiraj,that your statement both hits and misses the point. While obviously not to your taste (and each to their own), the whole point to these is to question ‘what is a film?’. Your criticism assumes it is the subject that is intended to be ‘represented’ here. Far from it, it is the medium that he is mischievously representing / misrepresenting here. I respectfully suggest that to miss this point is to misunderstand almost the entire artistic project of Warhol throughout his career. And certainly without that understanding this work would all seem to be sheer nonsense.

  • Jeebus says:

    An over-rated hack, like many of the “artists” of that era.

  • reversalmushroom says:

    These movies suck.

  • BOB says:

    judges never done.

  • Hamin says:

    i think the link died

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