Art and Documentary: Warhol By Bailey

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“According to the particularly stern introduction, Bailey on Warhol is ‘an attempt to capture the spirit of Warhol using some of the techniques he has pioneered and several stills of his most famous work.’ Pretty good summing up I’d say.

Bailey on Warhol uses a slightly leftfield, slightly irritating documentary format – acquaintances come and go, each with a tale, a party piece, an opinion or an anecdote, all cut up with some Warhol words from a Warhol clone under coloured light, not to mention an occasional glimpse of David Bailey himself. Yes, the words are often pretentious, usually sycophantic and now again, almost certainly an escalation of the truth for effect, but let’s be honest, this is the art world. What do you expect?

When Warhol does initially ‘speak’ to Bailey in a one-to-one interview, he has one of his hangers-on answering the questions, Warhol lip-syncing just after the answer. Annoying? You bet. Thankfully, Warhol does eventually speak his own words and when he does, it’s actually quite interesting – coming across as shy, slightly evasive, but surprisingly honest kind of guy. You even get to see Warhol in bed with David Bailey. All in the name of art obviously.

Which leaves something of a mixed bag, but a mixed bag with plenty of appeal if you are a fan of Warhol. Aside from the words, there’s also a lot to enjoy visually – the artwork, the occasional movie snippet and some work in progress at The Factory for example. All of which makes it a pretty valuable document – but only if you’re a Warhol fan.”

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