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Andy Warhol's Silver Flotations (1966)

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Uploaded on Jul 21, 2006

In April of 1966, the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York opened an exhibit by the true Jay Gatsby of American art, Andy Warhol. Silver Clouds, as it was called, consisted in its entirety of a roomful of silver, metalized plastic pillow-shaped balloons inflated with helium and oxygen. They floated . . . that's all they did . . . held aloft by the gallery's own air vents. In comparison to Warhol's yellow and pink Cow wallpaper exhibit then-ongoing in another part of the gallery, this was a dynamic work, but it was not without its charm for some.

Willard Maas, the poet, filmmaker and off-camera star of Warhol's 1964 film Blowjob, was so taken by the installation that he decided to put these inflated bags of air on film (perhaps, who can say, sensing a theme in light of his fellatory participation in the earlier work). The result, 'Andy Warhol's Silver Flotations' was his enduring contribution to the Warholian ether all New York seemed to be floating in in those days, and it is our offering today.

Tom Sutpen

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