It’s easy to pass by the Decker Building at 33 Union Square West or the building at 860 Broadway without knowing their historical significance in the world of Pop Art. We’ve done it for years so don’t feel so bad. It really wasn’t until I read the book Just Kids written by Patti Smith did I realize that Andy Warhol had his “Factory” here, first in the Decker building, in 1968 and then he moved it a block away, in the 1970’s to Broadway and 17th Street where Petco now resides. I just knew that Petco was sitting on holy soil, after all, Mamma Biscuit had her dog tags pressed there on a bone-shaped tag made of iridescent metal—not such a far cry from Andy’s silkscreens and magazine!
So in case you haven’t read Patti’s amazing tale (which I think you should) of living in NYC in the late 60’s and 70’s with the great Robert Mapplethorpe, than this 10-foot-tall silver Andy Monument created by Rob Pruitt will surely honor and mark the place for you—not that Patti herself cared for Andy all that much but Robert was a bit obsessed with him! Now this shiny statue towers over the small pedestrian plaza at 17th Street near the spot where Valerie Solanas attempted to murder Andy in 1968. The monument itself was commissioned by the Public Art Fund and was sculpted by hand using a digital scan of a live model.
Here, Andy Warhol is dressed in Levis 501s (my favorite of all jeans) a Brooks Brothers blazer and wearing a Polaroid camera around his neck while carrying a Medium Brown Bag from Bloomingdale’s. I tried to explain to Mamma Biscuit that the Bloomies bag probably contained a stack of Interview Magazines (the magazine Warhol founded in 1969) and not a pile of soft-chew treats—and judging by how she kept staring at the bag, I had a feeling she wasn’t buying my assumptions! Actually, our little gremlin was probably blinded by the harsh reflections bouncing off of the surface of this statue altogether. Seriously, I wouldn’t be surprised if the reflection off the silver surface on this monument could direct sunlight to downtown Oslo, Norway! That would just tickle me silly to have Mamma’s silhouette alla Batman’s logo in the moonlit gotham sky made from such a reflection all over a cityscape in Norway, could you imagine? Anyway, Mamma had no clue who Andy Warhol is/was and for all she knows, this monument could very well be Paula Deen post diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes—a year later of course, after she’s lost the weight! Either way, Mamma’s ink-blue coat against the backdrop of that silver simply looks fantastic, don’t you think?
So off we Biscuits went to spend a fun-filled Sunday afternoon with our little gremlin, taking in some park time at Union Square, visiting the Andy Monument (which will be taken down on May 13th) and some fun shopping on the Lower East Side. Now the Biscuit Lady sure knew how to draw in a crowd while taking these photos. How sad yet so incredibly funny that it took our little pug in an ink-blue felt coat to actually get people to look at this statue. I mean really, I just wanted to scream out “THIS IS FUCKING ANDY WARHOL, PEOPLE” when the crowd gazed up at it with such confused looks on their faces! At the same time, I was so entranced by the squealing of the onlookers in response to Mamma’s unbearable cuteness, how could I judge them? So Mamma Biscuit licked Andy’s silver foot and gave this monument a once over after a few snapshots and then walked off in the direction of Maoz Falafel, obviously looking for food as usual!
Later that afternoon, we stopped in at our favorite fun house/boutique in Manhattan: Patricia Fields on the Bowery and girl, let me just tell you that there was a giant 20% off sale on their entire inventory! So in between trying on hand-painted tank tops with motorcycle-studded detailing and having to endure our friend trying on gold-glittered jeggings (ughh, it was not pretty), Mamma was able to capture the attention of the transgendered Asian boy/girls styling a photo shoot in the wig section near the hair salon in the back of the men’s department! Yes, as I took the Biscuit Lady out of her Lacoste travel bag, the gaggle of gender-bending Harajuku kids immediately surrounded Mamma with their cameras and started cooing over her unbearable cuteness!
So here is our little gremlin giving us a very convincing Mary errr I mean Mamma J. Blige in her perfectly matched blue bang/hair clip! I was amazed when I actually found it in a pile of typical blonde and black bangs.
Mamma’s practically giving NYC the 411 with this look and lucky for all of us, she’s got no more drama!