Throughout the artist’s career, many affiliates of Andy Warhol had a lasting impact on his artwork and his character. Warhol lived inside a massive network of artists, curators, and collectors in the New York City scene. His most significant affiliates are responsible for some of his most famous works, and represent entire eras of his lucrative career.
Jean-Michel Basquiat was one of Warhol’s most significant affiliates, in both a friendly and professional capacity. They met in 1979 when he was an unknown artist selling his wares on the streets of New York City, peddling postcards in Washington Square Park for as little as $1. One day, Basquiat noticed Warhol eating lunch at a restaurant with curator Henry Geldzahler. Not wanting to miss the opportunity, he quickly ran inside to introduce himself. Basquiat offered his postcards for sale, and while Geldzahler initially dismissed the artwork as “too young”, Warhol bought a handful. Though Warhol and Basquiat would not meet again for a few years, their introduction kick-started an intense creative partnership that would last until Warhol’s death in 1987. At 17, Jean-Michel left his home in Brooklyn and collided with New York’s vivacious underground art scene. He explored multiple art forms before becoming a painter and even started an experimental band called Gray with friend and filmmaker Michael Holman. Basquiat became something of a mythic figure during his early years as a street artist. The poetic graffiti he left on buildings in Soho under the alias “SAMO” earned him an air of mystique, and New Yorkers were eager to learn the artist’s true identity. In 1982, Basquiat and Warhol met again when art dealer Bruno Bischofberger brought Basquiat to the Factory. The two took several Polaroids of each other before Warhol invited him to lunch. Basquiat declined, saying he had work to do. Later that day, he returned with a complete portrait in his hands, stunning Warhol. “He went home and within two hours a painting was back, still wet, of him and me together,” Warhol recalled in his diary. “And I mean, just getting to Christie Street must have taken an hour.”Both artists had something to offer the other. Basquiat wanted more recognition and space to grow and develop, whereas Warhol needed fresh energy to reinvigorate his well-established career. During their collaboration in the 1980s, Warhol introduced Basquiat to a countless number of people in the scene. Notably, Basquiat encouraged Warhol to start painting by hand again, after 23 years of only using screenprints. While working together, they engaged in a playful back-and-forth dialogue; Warhol would often paint something that Basquiat would then paint over in response.Aside from taking on the art world as a duo, Basquiat and Warhol also developed a close, caring friendship. They created several works together such as Ten Punching Bags and Olympic Rings and even shared an exhibition in 1985. Despite their efforts, however, their show “Warhol and Basquiat: Paintings” suffered heavy criticism. The press charged Warhol with using Basquiat as an accessory of sorts, and the two never worked together again. Upset by the backlash and confused by his relationship with Warhol, Basquiat flew to the west coast.Despite a large gap in communication, the two never truly broke up, and would eventually resume their casual phone calls. However, their regular painting sessions at the Factory never continued. In 1987, Warhol’s death had a severe impact on Basquiat’s wellbeing, and the two friends never had the chance to rekindle their relationship. Basquiat died the following year. He was 27 years old.
Ivan Karp was an art dealer at the Leo Castelli Gallery during the genesis of Pop. He played an instrumental role in bringing the Pop Art movement to the forefront, launching the careers of Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, and Roy Lichenstein among others. Karp was one of the first to spot Warhol as an emerging talent and helped him cultivate his style. Karp is an affiliate of Warhol’s who heavily influenced his work, specifically his Cow series.When they met at the Leo Castelli gallery, Karp introduced Warhol to Roy Lichenstein’s paintings. Warhol mentioned he did similar work and invited the art dealer to his studio. “I had a very good rapport with Ivan right away,” Warhol recalled. “He was young, he had an ‘up’ attitude to everything”. When Karp stopped by, he quickly assessed Warhol’s work and provided input that steered the young artist in the right direction. “These blunt, straightforward works are the only ones of any consequence” he said, referring to Warhol’s Coke bottle paintings. “The others are all homage to Abstract Expressionism and are not,” Karp told him. Warhol characterized Ivan Karp as witty, well-spoken and lighthearted. “His loose, personal style of art dealing went perfectly with the Pop Art style,” Warhol said. Aside from being a prominent figure in New York’s art world, Karp was also a writer and completed five novels during the 1960’s alone. In 1969, he left Leo Castelli to open the OK Harris gallery in SoHo. He never took a liking to the Factory scene, once telling Warhol he didn’t enjoy being around the madcap, destructive characters who frequented the place. However, Warhol always respected the art dealer and considered him a good friend. Though Warhol’s relationship with Karp changed over time, Karp remained essential to the development of Pop Art as a phenomenon.
Henry Geldzahler served as curator for twentieth-century art at the Metropolitan Museum and eventually became the Commissioner of Cultural Affairs for New York City in 1977. Geldzahler developed close relationships with the artists he worked with, making him a unique figure at the time. Though he held an illustrious position at the Met, he was intertwined with the art scene itself. Among Warhol’s affiliates, Geldzahler is one of the most influential, who inspired Andy to create works like Death and Disaster and the Mao portraits. In August of 1960, Ivan Karp brought Geldzahler to Warhol’s apartment. After examining Warhol’s living quarters and the artwork he collected, Geldzahler invited him to look at paintings by Florine Stettheimer at the Met. “I was thrilled,” Warhol recalled in his 1980 book, Popism. “Anyone who’d know just from glancing around that one room of mine that I loved Florine Stettheimer had to be brilliant.”Warhol stopped by the Met the next day, and the two shared an instant connection. “Henry was a scholar who understood the past, but he also understood how to use the past to look at the future. Right away we became five-hours-a-day-on-the-phone-see-you-for-lunch-quick-turn-on-the-‘Tonight-Show’-friends,” Warhol said.In 1964, Warhol used film left over from Empire to shoot Geldzahler sitting on a couch at the Factory. After positioning the camera where he wanted it, Warhol left, busying himself with other tasks around the studio. Like other stars in Warhol’s screen tests, Geldzahler sat before the camera uncomfortably, smoking a cigar to avoid the camera’s gaze. According to the curator, Warhol used him as a subject for his first experiment with 8mm film before the shoot in 1964. “He just rented a little camera and came in and did a three-minute movie where I was smoking a cigar. And then I threw the cigar in the toilet, and I brushed my teeth, and, then, I flushed the toilet,” Geldzahler said. “For all I know, it was never printed.”After Geldzahler’s boyfriend moved in with him in 1965, his relationship with Warhol grew distant. A year later, the two drifted further apart when Warhol discovered Geldzahler had been appointed commissioner for the Venice Biennale by reading about it in the New York Times. Geldzahler didn’t feature any of Warhol’s paintings, but what upset Warhol the most was that Geldzahler never told him the news.Despite their complicated relationship, Warhol always appreciated the openness of Henry Geldzahler’s perspective and his creative input. Geldzahler once gave Warhol a succinct description of the Pop phenomenon through his eyes. “It was like a science fiction movie—you Pop artists in different parts of the city, unknown to each other, rising up out of the muck and staggering forward with your paintings in front of you.”
Julian Schnabel (Affiliate)
Painter Julian Schnabel emerged on the New York art scene alongside other young prodigies like Jean-Michel Basquiat and David Salle in the early 1980s. After Pop made its mark, Neo-Expressionists like Schnabel revisited the Abstract Expressionist movement of the 1940s and 50s. His very first solo show at the Mary Boone Gallery in 1979 received critical acclaim, and he quickly catapulted to art world fame. Two years later, he exhibited his work at the Leo Castelli Gallery. In November 1980, Bruno Bischofberger introduced Warhol to Schnabel. “He’s a friend of [Ronnie Cutrone]’s, an artist who’s with Castelli now,” Warhol wrote after their meeting. He immediately noticed the glamor and notoriety Schnabel had achieved in such a short time. “We got to the place and there were three limos out front—Bruno sure knows how to spoil artists fast.” Despite their shared connection to Leo Castelli, Warhol didn’t take to Schnabel’s style or personality right away. He noted that Schnabel was pushy and did “sort of bad paintings”. “There’s this whole group of kids doing this bad art,” Warhol said. Having built his career on a strong aversion to Abstract Expressionism, Warhol was not fond of the new movement’s beginnings. Warhol viewed Julian as something of a rival at the beginning of their relationship. In typical Warhol fashion, the Pop artist became curious and wanted to gain more insight into his work. Though Warhol often said he believed Schnabel only visited other artists’ studios to copy them, the two ran in the same circles and spent a great deal of time together over the years. In 1982, Schnabel invited Warhol over to pose for a painting. “I’m going to have to sit for it. He does it abstract, anyway, but I guess I have to because he wants the inspiration,” Warhol lamented. While he chose a Paramount t-shirt to wear for the sitting, Schnabel asked him to take it off and painted Warhol in his corset, revealing his fragility. The same year, Warhol completed a 9-foot silkscreen showcasing a hardy Schnabel standing tall in a field of grass. Despite their differences, Schnabel respected Warhol’s prominence in the art world and Warhol admired Schnabel’s sudden rise to fame. In 1996, Schnabel released his first film, titled “Basquiat,” which featured David Bowie as Andy Warhol. His 2007 film, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, earned him 4 Academy Award nominations. More recently, in 2018, Schnabel directed At Eternity’s Gate about the struggles of Vincent van Gogh.
Bruno Bischofberger (Collector)
At 23 years old, Bruno Bischofberger opened his first art gallery in Zurich. City-galerie—which later became Galerie Bischofberger—hosted its first major exhibition in 1965. Titled Pop Art, the show featured breakthrough artists like Roy Lichenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg and of course Andy Warhol. By introducing Pop to European audiences, the exhibition represented a turning point for the art movement. However, Bischofberger would not meet Warhol in person until he traveled to New York a year later. He would become one of Warhol’s most important affiliates.The Swiss art dealer quickly developed a camaraderie with Warhol. Not long after their initial meeting, Warhol entrusted Bischofberger with eleven of his early paintings (including the Coca-Cola bottles and a few works from the Death and Disaster series) and granted him the right of first refusal on all future pieces. The arrangement, which proceeded throughout the length of Warhol’s career, illustrates the artist’s high regard for Bischofberger. Bischofberger also buoyed Warhol’s interest in celebrity portraits; this became the artist’s main source of income in the 1970s. Bischofberger’s support of Warhol’s endeavors extended beyond the art world. In 1969, he helped Warhol found InterviewMagazine and later facilitated his collaboration with Jean-Michel Basquiat. In fact, he formally introduced them at the Factory and commissioned their collaborative efforts. “Warhol let me decide which young artists I could bring with me to the Factory to have a portrait done, in exchange for which they could swap one of their works,” Bischofberger said. “Warhol trusted my judgment and it was of no consequence that the works that he received in exchange were often worth much less than his portraits. In this way Andy established a relationship with the generation of younger artists.” During the 1980s, Bischofberger went on to work with and support Jean-Michel Basquiat and other Neo-Expressionists. After Basquiat parted ways with Annina Nosei, he worked exclusively with Bischofberger. In Julian Schnabel’s 1996 film Basquiat, Dennis Hopper portrays the art dealer, highlighting Bischofberger’s role in bringing Basquiat and Warhol together. Today, Galerie Bischofberger continues to thrive in Zurich. Aside from his influence on Pop, Bischofberger and his wife are also leading collectors of European folk art.