Remembering Andy: A Conversation with John Waters and Vincent Fremont
A Conversation with John Waters and Vincent Fremont
Listen in as two icons discuss Andy Warhol’s films and his lasting influence on cinema and American culture. General public tickets include one free admission to the exhibition Andy Warhol: Other Voices, Other Rooms for October 3 or 4.
Inimitable filmmaker John Waters (Pink Flamingos, the original Hairspray, Crybaby) has made a career of pushing the boundaries of his art form, just like Warhol, and his earliest work was inspired by Warhol’s films. Director and producer Vincent Fremont began working for Warhol in 1969 and played an integral role in Warhol’s subsequent film, television, and video production, later serving as vice president of Andy Warhol Enterprises. Tonight the two trade Warhol stories, insights, and reminiscences.
Note: Free student tickets while supplies last.
Keep reading for more about the speakers and the photos.
John Waters was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1946 and was drawn to movies at an early age. He was particularly interested in popular exploitation movies with lurid ad campaigns. He subscribed to Variety at the age of 12, absorbing the magazine's factual information and its lexicon of insider lingo. This early education would prove useful as the future director began his career giving puppet shows for children's birthday parties. As a teenager, Waters began making 8mm underground movies influenced by the likes of Jean-Luc Godard, Walt Disney, Russ Meyer, Ingmar Bergman, Herschell Gordon Lewis, and Andy Warhol.
Using Baltimore, which he fondly dubbed the "Hairdo Capitol of the World," as the setting for all his films, Waters assembled a cast of ensemble players, mostly native Baltimoreans and friends of long standing: Divine, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, Mink Stole, and Edith Massey. He also established lasting relationships with key production people, such as production designer Vincent Peranio, costume designer Van Smith, and casting director Pat Moran, helping to give his films that trademark Waters "look."
In 1972 Waters created what would become the most "notorious" film in the American independent cinema of the 1970s, Pink Flamingos. Centered on the great battle to secure the title "Filthiest People Alive," Pink Flamingos pitted Divine's Babs Johnson against Mink Stole and David Lochary's truly evil Connie and Raymond Marble—and turned Waters into a cult celebrity. Pink Flamingos went on to become a smash success at midnight screenings in the U.S. and all over the world. Commenting on the long-lasting popularity of the film, at its 25th-anniversary theatrical re-release, Waters proudly boasted, "it's hard to offend three generations, but it looks like I've succeeded." In addition to writing and directing 15 other feature films, Waters is the author of five books: Shock Value, Crackpot, Pink Flamingos and Other Trash, Hairspray, Female Trouble and Multiple Maniacs, and Art: A Sex Book (cowritten with art critic Bruce Hainley).
Concurrent to his careers as a filmmaker and author, John Waters is also a photographer whose work, presently represented by the Marianne Boesky Galley in New York, has been shown in galleries and museums all over the world since 1992, including at the Wexner Center in 1999. Waters is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and is on the Wexner Center International Arts Advisory Council. Additionally, he is a member of the boards of The Andy Warhol Foundation and Printed Matter.
Vincent Fremont began working for Andy Warhol shortly after arriving in New York in the summer of 1969. For nearly twenty years, until Warhol’s death in February 1987, he worked for the Factory in various capacities. Fremont was the vice-president of Andy Warhol Enterprises and the executive manager of the Andy Warhol studio. In the 1970s and 1980s, Fremont produced and developed video, television, and film projects, including Andy Warhol’s TV and Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes.
After Warhol’s death, Fremont was one of the founding directors of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. He was closely involved in establishing the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, guiding in the selection of the founding collection. Fremont served as the curator of Cast a Cold Eye, a 2006 exhibition of late Warhol paintings at Gagosian Gallery, and is the foundation’s exclusive sales agent for Andy Warhol’s paintings, drawings, and sculpture. He also acts as an agent for artist Deborah Kass. With his wife, Shelly Dunn, he codirected and coproduced an award-wining documentary titled Pie in the Sky: The Brigid Berlin Story, which chronicles the life of Warhol Superstar Brigid Berlin. Fremont and Dunn are currently developing an independent feature film.
Image 2: Andy signing papers (perhaps the Mao Xerox print he did for The New York Collection for Stockholm), Vincent Fremont sitting in window, Fred Hughes reading, dates probably from 1973. The picture was taken in the front part of Andy's sixth floor studio at 33 Union Square West, Manhattan.
Image 3: The people starting from the left are as follow: Andy Warhol, Vincent Fremont, and Federico De Laurentiisin the background Thomas Ammann, Bob Colacello, walking up the street after leaving Elaine's Restaurant, Manhattan, dates probably from 1974-75
Image 4: Pictured from left Andy Warhol, Nicky Weymouth, and Vincent Fremont, leaving Elaine's Restaurant, Manhattan, dates probably from 1974-75.
Admission$15 students (tickets required)
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