Here are some highlights from the Q&A session following the screening of Brillo Box (3¢ off) at Christie’s New York. Read the review here.
Laura Paulson, Deputy Chairman, Christie’s Americas:
“I find this film to be sobering in a way that is tender and meaningful in your personal life, but also in the world which I live in, which is the very fast-paced and commercial aspect of the art world which is very different than how it was when I moved here in 1980.”
On the last art purchases by Andy Warhol, Laura Paulson, Deputy Chairman, Christie’s Americas:
“It wasn’t always easy for Andy [Warhol]. He was very thoughtful, and having known him, I sold him his last works before he died- I last saw him at a Duchamp show in February 1987, he bought three works by Duchamp.”
On painting for the market, Laura Paulson, Deputy Chairman, Christie’s Americas:
“Andy represented a cold, commercial aspect of the art world- repetition, and using commercial means and cultural history; cultural icons, he had an idea that related closely to ourselves, which you see in the film, but now I feel there are a generation of artists who are painting for the market in a way that is not what Andy was doing… this film brings us back to a center of authenticity and a moment that was about New York that was finding itself and great ideas and things without tyranny in the market.”
On Andy Warhol’s personality, Lisanne Skyler, Director:
“His whole demeanor was part of the art. It was his performance. On one hand, it’s ‘Are you pulling my leg? Is it really a soup can, is it really a Brillo box?’ on the other hand, there’s all these meanings that come through these works when you take them out of context and put them in different places. If you asked him, he’d say ‘Oh yeah, it’s just a joke’, but that just how he presented himself to the art world and part of how he packaged it and that it took the world a while to realize, actually, no, its more profound than that, it’s not just a joke.
The moment Lisanne realized this was a film, Lisanne Skyler, Director:
“So, I was driving with my mom, I just finished a film, and the Brillo Box came up in conversation and I just thought, ‘I wonder what happened to it!’, wanted to see if I could figure it out. And it was a way to go back- all personal documentary filmmaking- it is about capturing something special that you want to share with people. I really did find my parents to be fascinating as people and characters in the film and I started the film by interviewing my parents to see what they’d be like on film.
Then a few months later my mom called me and said, ‘You should really look at the Christie’s catalogue, the sales have opened!’ I live in Arizona so I didn’t know what she was talking about, so finally I looked and there was the Brillo Box. The a-ha! moment was when the price climbed to three million, it was me and my mom and my dad and we were all kind of processing it. So in the film, about what it means, we went through that… what do we take away from this?
“Brillo Box (3¢ off)” is available on August 7 on HBO. Learn more here.