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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Andy Warhol eats fast food

I just filed my end-of-year Grazing rant, part of which was devoted to the rise in consumption of fast food because of the recession. In looking around the Internets, I came across this clip of Andy Warhol eating a hamburger in Jørgen Leth's 1982 film "66 scener fra Amerika," a Danish film whose title means "66 scenes from America."

The scene is reminiscent of Warhol's own early style of sitting cameras before people for hours and hours. As a teenager I used to go to a hidden-away art theater owned by George Ellis, who played the horror-show host Bestoink Dooley on local TV, to see Warhol's films. I'm talking the super-boring ones like 8-hours of the Empire State Building, just standing there, in "Empire." And there was the 3-plus hours of  "The Chelsea Girls," actually six hours projected on a split screen.

At one point, Ellis owned a theater at Ansley Mall, where he screened Warhol's "Lonesome Cowboys,". I was there the night the theater was raided by the police and the projector shut down.

Eating a fast food burger -- Burger King, I think -- seems like a perfect performance piece for an artist who was obsessed with repetition, icons of pop culture and tedium. Have a look and imagine yourself in his place.

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