This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Listen to a first-hand account of the colorful milieu surrounding Andy Warhol and the 1960s New York ‘underground’ from Factory denizen and Superstar, Ultra Violet in this Views on Art interview with Ruth Bowman.
The Factory was established in New York City in 1962, during a time of significant change and experimentation in the cultural history of America. It served as Pop artist, Andy Warhol’s, studio through 1968. In this time, the first television image was transmitted to space and back, the Cuban Missile Crisis had come to a head, JFK was assassinated, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, American troops were sent to Vietnam, and various art movements, including Pop Art, Minimalism and Fluxus, took root.
Dubbed the “Silver Factory” by its regulars for its tin foil and silver-painted interior, The Factory soon became a vibrant hub of the New York art scene. It was frequented by musicians, artists, and celebrities, including the likes of Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Truman Capote, and Mick Jagger, among others, a place where dreams were made and stars were born. Among them were Warhol’s assorted film talent: the Warhol Superstars.
Isabelle Collin Dufresne moved to New York City from France at the age of 16. She was introduced to the New York art scene by painter John Graham, and later became muse and student to Surrealist artist, Salvador Dali, before meeting Andy Warhol in 1963 and becoming the Warhol Superstar known as Ultra Violet.
In this interview with Ruth Bowman, Ultra Violet speaks about her involvement in the art world and how her desire “to turn into art with my soul and body” led her to starring in films. She talks about her experiences of working at The Factory and on films directed by Andy Warhol, Norman Mailer and John Chamberlain. Of some interest is her account of working on Mailer’s film, Maidstone, and her mention of the now infamous scene in which actor Rip Torn attacks Mailer with a hammer.
Ultra Violet goes on to express aspirations of exploring other aspects of art of the environment, from film to interior design and fashion. She talks about choosing and loving her name, Ultra Violet, for its associations with science, technology, flower power, and also for the various reactions it produces among the people around her. Fame soon followed Andy Warhol’s simple declaration of her Superstar status, and as Ruth Bowman states, in the case of the Superstars, “the wish, really, becomes the reality.”
WNYC archives id: 9111