The Factory’s Dark Side

The Factory’s Dark Side

“There was always this sense that something could go terribly wrong at the Factory,” recalled Robert Heide, “like the time Dorothy Podber came up there and shot a stack of Marilyn Monroe silkscreens with a gun.” In the fall of 1964 she walked into the Factory with her Great Dane named Carmen Miranda, motioned to the Monroe silkscreens, and asked, “Can I shoot those?” Andy Warhol said yes—assuming that Podber was going to take a picture—but she instead pulled out a pistol and shot a hole through the canvases. On another occasion a young man came to the studio with a gun and played Russian roulette, fired some shots that missed, then left (a nonplussed Andy said nothing). George Harris III first visited the Factory after he met Warhol in the back room of Max’s Kansas City, but Harris misread the situation and thought it was a date. After he arrived Warhol sat passively while some of his male friends tortured the young man. While Harris begged them to stop, they extinguished cigarettes on his skin and roughed him up—refusing to let him leave and keeping him at the Factory all night. “So when Valerie shot Andy,” Heide said, “it was almost inevitable, because of the people that were surrounding him.”

From Chapter 18 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore


The Factory (Union Square)
33 Union Square W, New York, NY 10003