Girl after Mary Jane & Cheapo Andy
Back then Gerard Malanga introduced me joyfully to Eric Emerson. Eric had starred in several Warhol films but had been out of New York for ten years. A few days after the introduction, I ran into Gerard. He was downcast. "You’re not going to believe it," said Gerard, "but Eric was killed the very night you met him -- in an automobile accident." If I did believe it, I was a fool. Eric had taken too much heroin and grown comatose. His companions, believing he was dead, abandoned him on the sidewalk. He then rolled onto the street and was hit by a car.
All this was long ago. At this very moment, however, Gerard Malanga and John Chamberlain are in court in Brooklyn over the authenticity of a painting either by or not by Andy Warhol.
Gerard Malanga was the first editor of Interview. He complained constantly about his crummy wages. Then he went off to Europe, and, short of money, forged a Warhol portrait of Mao, and sold it to Warhol’s Rome dealer. Or so Rumor often told me. Was it even a forgery? As I understand it, Andy did not actually paint these portraits. As often as not, it was Gerard. In any case, Warhol found out about the sale a week later. Gerard stayed abroad for years awaiting forgiveness. It came. Andy was not written up in the Lives of the Saints. But he was a Catholic and he did forgive.
The painting in the Chamberlain matter dates from this period. Malanga was living in Great Barrington and painted some pseudo-Warhols. He considered them homages and did not try to sell them. However, over the years, these paintings fell into the possession of John Chamberlain. Chamberlain is a sculptor whom I’ve also published in my magazine Unmuzzled OX. Chamberlain sold a Malanga homage as an original Warhol. Gerard is suing.
I had a bitter wrangle about money with Ingrid Sischy, years before she became editor of Interview. Ingrid was the new manager of Printed Matter, a store for artists’ books. It was then on Lispenard Street. The previous manager liked Unmuzzled OX and ordered and sold many copies, but always on consignment. She was dismissed abruptly. Printed Matter was apparently losing money. When I asked Ingrid for payment, she refused. When I asked for the books back, she couldn’t give them to me, because Printed Matter had sold them. I then mounted a high horse, alas.
Andy Warhol would be 80-years-old were he still alive. I notice Ingrid’s name has disappeared from the masthead of Interview. I cannot say alas. Not to sound like a wistful jerk but I hope Gerard gets some money for some of the many Warhols he has painted over the years. It would be just and overdue payment from the great, the fabulous, the long-dead Andy Warhol. And it might also be an honorable deed by John Chamberlain.