It is clear from Andy Warhol's early, minimalist films that he had a thing for beauty; male and female glassy-eyed with amphetamine abuse, willing and able to withstand his cinematic endurance tests.
And the four films screening in Film Love's ambitious two-night series Andy Warhol 1 and 2 at Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery offer a good toe-dip into the peculiar vision and obsessions of this revered 20th-century artist and filmmaker.
The quartet of babes in Four of Andy Warhol's Most Beautiful Women, including Warhol's Factory superstar Baby Jane Holzer, were instructed to stay stock-still while Warhol shot them. It's a commentary on beauty; the excruciatingly elongated shot asks how long we can enjoy the simple enticement of female loveliness. The camera, long described in terms of assault and conquest, is undoubtedly a kind of bully here, too, forcing poet Ann Buchanan to weep real tears under the hot lights.
Like Midnight Cowboy gone experimental, Warhol's 24-minute 1963 work Haircut (No. 1) is a "documentation" of Factory regular Billy Name doling out a comprehensively documented trim. Six different camera angles of pretty, James Dean-pouty John Daley give a voyeuristic totality to the haircut and show the breadth of Warhol's experimental technique. Looking on is dancer Freddy Herko, a homoerotic faun who at one point offers a Sharon Stone crotch shot, nekkid save a lip-smacking smile and a 10-gallon hat in this film founded on sensual pleasures of many persuasions.
Another endurance test and prolonged examination of an ordinary act, Eat, features pop artist Robert Indiana taking his own sweet time (27 minutes to be precise) eating a plump white mushroom. It's not exactly the kind of repast you want to relish, but its prolonged appreciation could be seen as analogous to an artist's dedication to the small, savored aspects of life.
This selection of Warhol shorts is followed by a later sound feature, the 67-minute opus Space, featuring a cast of Warhol's Factory freaks and beauties including doomed pill-popper Edie Sedgwick.
Haircut (No. 1), Four of Andy Warhol's Most Beautiful Women, Eat. Fri., Jan. 26, 8 p.m. Space. Sat., Jan. 27, 8 p.m. Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery, 290 MLK Jr. Drive, Suite 8, 404-522-0655. www.eyedrum.org.