“People should fall in love with their eyes closed. Just close your eyes. Do not look.”
Despite the not-so-recent release of the series, we took some time off to dig deep and think through the episodes to grasp the essence of it all. Overall, we loved the Diaries and would recommend watching it!
What struck pretty much everyone’s attention is director Andrew Rossi’s brave attempt to embed Warhol’s private life in this limited series consisting of six episodes only.
In the Diaries Warhol’s voice was recreated via artificial intelligence, and although there are allegedly critiques to some extent, it helps the watchers follow the narrative flow. Starting from the eponymous book edited by Pat Hackett, a lifelong friend who Andy used to call daily – she would later transcribe all of their calls – the series zooms in on all the tiny details that often go overlooked these days when Warhol is best known as the record-breaking artist at auctions.
The Andy Warhol Diaries surveys the multi-hyphenated creative persona Andy has been, the way he went off to the art world and it touches upon his desire to be famous, which led him to create both a legend and a legacy, aspects that outlived him. Indeed, the series sets a bittersweet tone and exposes many of his still-living contradictions.
Over his up-and-coming life, Andy was beyond words obsessed with the expanded notion of what art could be. In the words of others, Andy made you look at things. In the case of the Diaries Rossi made us look at the artist from an intimate point of view. These moments in time from his widely documented path unveil features of an insecure man, needy of love and often seeking validation through personal relationships, despite being good at business and successful was one of his most fascinating types of art.
As the episodes go on, the roaring ‘80s take off, and just like Andy’s AI voice narrates is when the people will either become part of the future or part of the past, namely friends, lovers, and art geeks around him. There is a significant intro by artist Fab 5 Freddy that helps the viewers plunge in the whimsical art world they were living in: “The energy of New York City in the early ‘80s was rough, raw, and jagged as opposed to what typically happened in the art world and somebody said it was white wine, white walls and white people only. The world rippled to Andy and Andy showed up”. That is the time when Warhol met Basquiat for the first time and without giving away too much, we loved seeing these two working out together and taking themselves not so seriously every once in a while.
The series displays everything you would want to see in a cool “vintage” portrait of America. From Jimmy Buffet’s party and Diana Ross, Jack Nicolson, and Anjelica Huston attending, to Jane Holzer, Mick, and Bianca Jagger at The Factory, to name only a few.
Also, the documentary is full of quotes from Warhol you will love to pieces and write down in your notebook or your most poetic iPhone artsy note. Beware, art lover, mixing all the above ingredients comes the perfect recipe to fall in love first-episode-sight.
The overall biopic sparks some unanswered questions, starting with whether enough has been told about his grandeur as an artist who conquered America as the idol everyone wanted to live up to while being ever unconfident and full of fears and insecurities. Some enactments might result as redundant and too detailly. If someone is keen to learn more about Andy Warhol without remaining aloof, avoiding crisscrossing amongst the latest art market news, The Diaries of Andy Warhol is a brilliant first step. Yet if you read the Diaries, you shall not expect this documentary to be revelatory.