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September 16, 2013

22 Rare Photographs of Andy Warhol in Flower Field With Flowers Silk-Screen in Queens, New York, 1964

Andy Warhol was a flower child in his own right, known for saying, “I think everybody should like everybody.” But then again, as much as he instilled love and peace, he also had a morbid fascination with death, destruction and devastation. Warhol found beauty in the ugly, but also found depth and darkness in seemingly beautiful things.

Photographer William John Kennedy and his wife, Marie, were driving their Volkswagen Beetle through Flushing, Queens in the early 1960s when they spotted a field of eight-foot-high Black-Eyed Susans.

This made Kennedy think of his good friend, who was slaving away on a painting of similar flowers. So, Kennedy called him.

“Well, pick me up!” Andy Warhol exclaimed.

And they did. The couple grabbed the artist, stuffed his “Flowers” paintings in the back of their Beetle and drove back to the field. They all spent the afternoon frolicking among the flowers while Kennedy snapped photographs of Warhol and his art.

During the early 1960s, Kennedy developed a strong friendship with Warhol and Indiana (who introduced the two). All three were struggling young artists in New York City trying to make a name for themselves.

As most photographers do, Kennedy shot his friends while they were going about their daily lives. What Kennedy didn’t know is that his friends would be among the most famous artists of our time.

The photographs sat in a dusty box for 50 years, never digitally retouched, or even cropped. They depict Warhol with “Flowers,” with his famous Marilyn Monroe piece, and lounging around The Factory.

“The two things in Andy Warhol’s life were art and his mother. And his mother came first,” Kennedy said. “If he didn’t know you, and you didn’t know him, Andy Warhol was very beige. I always had to ask him questions, poke around and provoke conversation, but then a rainbow of ideas came flowing from him.”

(Photos by William John Kennedy, via Kiwi Arts Group)


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