Warhol’s Screen Tests

Warhol’s Screen Tests

When Ondine first sat for his “Screen Test” in early 1966, he squirmed and squinted in front of the bright movie lights, doing his best to endure. (“My crowd took a lot of drugs and avoided bright lights,” he later explained.) For his second sitting, Ondine came armed with sunglasses, which he used as cover to close his eyes and take a short nap. Bibbe Hansen, who also did two Screen Tests, viewed it as part of the Factory’s initiation and vetting process. “How you behave, how you deal with that, speaks volumes about who you are, or who you are passing yourself off to be,” she said. “I knew instinctively, and I behaved accordingly, because I was from the street culture and also the downtown New York outsider arts community of the fifties and sixties. It was as much of a Warhol gang initiation as a collaborative art portrait. Three minutes. Did you fidget? Did you wilt? Were you uncertain? Were you apprehensive? And were you cool? The camera doesn’t lie. Camera tells you what’s what.” Hansen acknowledged that it could be kind of petty, but at least the judgments weren’t being formed around one’s social position or bank balance.

From Chapter 11 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