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'Empire' Tweets Back: WNYC Culture Live Tweets Andy Warhol's 8-Hour Marathon Film


This Friday, join WNYC and the Museum of Modern Art for a screening and simultaneous Twitter discussion of Andy Warhol's marathon film "Empire."

On the evening of July 25, 1964, artist Andy Warhol, along with Factory denizens John Palmer and Jonas Mekas, trained a camera lens on the Empire State Building. For the next six hours and 30 minutes, they filmed New York's most iconic skyscraper in a continuous static shot that occupies more than ten reels of 16mm film. Played back at a slower, silent speed, the film's projection time is more than eight hours long. And we here at WNYC are determined to watch every last minute of it. O.K., almost every last minute. I imagine there will be bathroom and Cheetos breaks. (We are not Marina Abramovic.)

This Friday, February 18th, the Museum of Modern Art will be screening "Empire"  as part of the exhibit Andy Warhol: Motion Pictures. In addition to sitting through the whole darn thing, we will be live Tweeting the event, with an array of invited guests—who will be providing insight on everything from Warhol's legacy to Modernism to the downtown Manhattan arts scene of the '60s to, naturally, "King Kong ." ("It was beauty killed the beast.") I'll be co-hosting the discussion with Liz Arnold, the brains behind WNYC Culture's feed (@WNYCculture).

Naturally, we'd like for you to be part of the conversation. If you're on Twitter, please join in by using the hashtag #empirefilm or directing your Tweets to the participants listed below. If you happen to be at MoMA on Friday, feel free to pop into the 6th floor galleries to join in the nerd-fun live. If you want to tune in remotely and don't have Twitter, no worries: we'll be streaming all related Tweets live to this website.

Above, find a riveting sample of what we'll be watching. Below, find a list of our esteemed participants (all of whom we highly recommend you follow regardless) — along with an itinerary of who will be online when. Expect the eight-hour Tweet-a-thon to get started at 10:30 A.M. It'll be a rare opportunity to view and discuss a film that everyone has heard about, but few have actually seen.



MoMA From 11 A.M. to noon (and here and there throughout the day), the museum's venerable Tweeters will kick off the discussion by sharing all kinds of fascinating tidbits about Warhol, the current exhibit and the artist's fascination with verrrrrrry long movies in which nothing happens. (Incidentally, we owe the MoMA social media staff big-time for coming up with such a good name for this project.)

BRYAN WATERMAN From 12:30 to 1:30 P.M., Waterman, who teaches American literature at N.Y.U., will be on board to discuss the Empire State Building, Andy Warhol and New York City in literature. In addition to his teaching gig, he's the editor, with Cyrus R. K. Patell, of "The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of New York," and together they write the Weblog A History of New York. His book on the Television album Marquee Moon, for Continuum's 33 1/3 series, will be published this summer.

MARK LAMSTER. From 2:30 to 3:30 P.M., Lamster, an architectural critic and historian will be joining us to discuss the Empire State Building's history, its legacy as a New York icon, the race to build skyscrapers and some of the building's more unusual architectural features. Lamster is currently at work on a biography about architect Philip Johnson (the man who, incidentally, designed MoMA's sculpture garden back in 1953) and is a regular contributor at Design Observer.

ROBIN CEMBALEST (ARTnews Magazine) To help us wrap up our very long cinematic day, Cembalest, the executive editor of ARTnews Magazine, will be joining us from 4:30 to 5:30 P.M. to Tweet about Warhol and the tradition of endurance art. When she's not tending to the magazine and to Twitter, you can also find her at

HRAG VARTANIAN (Hyperallergic) Joining Cembalest from 4:30 to 5:30 P.M. is Vartanian, the editor of the Brooklyn-based arts blogazine Hyperallergic. A font of information about all things contemporary art related, Vartanian will examine how Warhol and his filmmaking have influenced a generation of artists working today.

LIZ ARNOLD (WNYCculture) The official voice of WNYC Culture on Twitter (and Facebook and Tumblr and...) and a popular home design blogger (she keeps threatening to photograph my living room), will be kicking things off right at 10:30 A.M., when Empire begins its marathon screening at MoMA. And she'll be there 'til the bitter end, eight hours later.

ME, a.ka. Gallerina (cmonstah). I'll be co-piloting this Twitter ship all day with Liz Arnold starting at 10:30 A.M., becoming one with the seats inside MoMA's screening room, and dispensing Cliff Claven-esque facts about Warhol and the Empire State Building. Did you know that the building casts a shadow of more than a mile on the Winter Solstice? You do now...