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Andy Warhol’s High Security Factory 1973

by Andy Warhol, 1928-1987

After Valerie Solanas shot Andy Warhol in 1968 at his Factory at 33 Union Square West, the artist relocated and set up a new studio in a higher security building just up the block at 860 Broadway & Union Square West in 1973. Hidden rear exits and bullet proof doors made Warhol feel safe, and ensured that he could escape attackers or obsessed fans if necessary. He remained here until 1984.

Though this move marked the “end of the 60s Factory” for many who were part of the Factory scene, Warhol created two of his most obscure and interesting projects here. The first were the Piss Paintings–canvases covered with metallic paint and urine. The urine (both his own and that of Factory guests) would oxidize the metal in the paint, creating brilliant rusted green and gold splashes. These paintings were little-known to the general public at the time of their creation.

The second of were his Time Capsules. Warhol started his Time Capsules–brown cardboard boxes which held miscellaneous items such as business cards, letters, and photographs–while he was packing up and moving out of his Factory at 33 Union Square West. Each month, he started a new capsule and dropped in anything that passed through his hands that month. They were then labeled, sealed, and stored away. Like his Piss Paintings, the Time Capsules were almost completely unknown until his death in 1987.

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