Andy Warhol Meets Gerard Malanga

Andy Warhol Meets Gerard Malanga

Andy Warhol’s connection to the underground poetry world intensified when Gerard Malanga, a poet who also had a background in commercial printing, became his primary printing assistant in the summer of 1963. The two began working together in an uptown studio near Warhol’s brownstone home until the artist needed a larger studio, leading to his acquisition of a space in a midtown industrial building that became the Factory. By this point, Warhol had shifted from creating paintings with brushes—as he did with his famous Campbell’s soup can series—to his mass production–inspired silkscreened prints. By many accounts, Warhol was inspired by the amateur techniques used to make the experimental films, mimeographed poetry zines, and Off-Off-Broadway theatrical productions he was taking in. He then applied this DIY approach to his own messily printed silkscreens. “The spirit of the aleatory, that is, of John Cage’s chance operations, which Cage featured in his compositions, came into play in these early silkscreens, when talent overwhelmed technique,” recalled Ed Sanders. “I was friends at the time with Warhol’s assistant, poet Gerard Malanga, who told me about some of the casual and accidental silkscreen results.”

From Chapter 3 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore


The Factory (original location)
231 E 47th St, New York, NY 10017