Social Buttons

Thursday, October 30, 2014

In Context: Exposed: Songs for Unseen Warhol Films

Exposed: Songs for Unseen Warhol Films runs at BAM from November 6—8. Context is everything, so get even closer to the show with this curated selection of articles, interviews, and videos related to the production. Once you've seen it, help us keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below.

Program Notes


Andy Warhol's Brooklyn (BAM Blog)
Find out where Warhol hung out in Kings County.

BAM Illustrated: The Making of Dean Wareham (BAM Blog)
Illustrator Nathan Gelgud looks at Wareham's early influences and formative musical moments.

About Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests (
Read more about these intriguing bite-sized portraits from Warhol’s film output.

Excerpt from Andy Warhol (The New York Times)
An excerpt from philosopher and Warhol scholar Arthur Danto’s book.

Digitizing Warhol’s Film Trove to Save It (The New York Times)
MoMA and the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburg have begun scanning all 1,000 rolls from Warhol’s film oeuvre.

Dean Wareham and Eleanor Friedberger Talk Live (
Wareham and Friedberger discuss their approaches to scoring never-before-seen Warhol shorts.

Temperature Rising: An Oral History of Galaxie 500 (Pitchfork)
Musicians, writers, and industry bigwigs weigh in on the indispensable band.

Interview with Eleanor Friedberger (TheRumpus)
Friedberger talks about her sophomore album, what she’s been reading lately, and more.

Did Warhol Change Everything? (The New Yorker)
“The essence of Warhol’s genius,” writes Louis Menand, “was to eliminate the one aspect of a thing without which that thing would, to conventional ways of thinking, cease to be itself, and then to see what happened.”


Soft Focus: Interview with Suicide (YouTube)
An in-depth interview with the band.

"Bomb," Tom Verlain (YouTube)
Love and Money back Tom Verlaine in this clip from 1987.

Now your turn...

So how did you enjoy the show? Likes? Dislikes? Surprises? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below.


  1. I thougt the firs three songs, which as far as I understood were original soundtracks, made sense. I don't understand the coice of the others, which for me were only disturbing. I think silence would have worked better, or something that had some rythm in tune with the images.

  2. I completely disagree with the above comment. I thought that the evening was a masterpiece. I loved the variation of songs, from psychedelic 60s/70s rock to Bradford Cox's experimental sounds. I especially enjoyed the film Cox played along to, with the Italian model and the old man smoking a cigar. Warhol had a way of finding interesting people and getting them to relax and act natural on camera. It was really enjoyable.

  3. Enjoyable. Though from where I sat (row BB), the projection was decidedly low resolution. I work in film and know how good 16mm transfers can look. I would say the fault here is likely the projection resolution, and not the source. You could very easily see jagged lines and pixelation, and for a not super huge blowup, it should have been way better. It did not detract too much from the great performances and subject matter (particularly Edie!). And again, I have to comment on how BAM keeps its venues too uncomfortably warm. Don't they understand that any theater once filled with bodies will rise in temperature? Please compensate for this, by lowering your thermostats to room temperature (68-72 F). At the very least, circulate the air. It's stifling, in Gilman, Harvey, and Fisher.

  4. "13 Most Beautiful" is a work of genius. "Exposed" does not work as well. The Warhol screen test are a cool concept: put a camera on a pop icon wannabe for 5 minutes, see what comes out. Dean & Britta did an amazing job of recognizing what came out, and finding music that reflected that spirit, and all the nuances of mood and expression, perfectly. By contrast, Exposed is far more uneven, 3/4 a half-assed effort. The problem starts with the core material. Warhol's short films are nowhere near as interesting or original as his screen tests. Basically, they are mostly sophomoric home movies with little originality or artistic value other than as historical documents of an early proto-hipster scene. The best of the films in Exposed where basically screen tests. Again, Dean Wareham does a superb job with the three films he scored, right on the money in terms of finding the essence and translating it into sound. But his collaborators fail to rise to his level. Their offerings seem unpolished, like none of them were giving it their best. The music had little to do with the films, and did not capture very much essence. Verlaine, Cox and Freidberger, all of them had moments where you felt they were getting close to something, but without ever quite getting there. Martin Rev's sonic assault had nothing to do with the films (other than it's half-assed-ness), and seemed more like a huge fuck you to the entire project and the audience. None of the performer's except Dean looked up at the screen, or really tried to tie their performances to the action. My take it that Dean & Britta are geniuses with this genre, this material, but it is tough for even other artists hand picked by Dean to score this material as effectively. It takes a very particular kind of talent.

  5. I attended Exposed because I was interested in the Warhol films. I would have happily watched them with no sound. To be honest, I was afraid the music would detract from the films. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the music/film pairings. I thought that having three short films per musician was a perfect combination, and I really enjoyed the wide variety of music I heard. I could easily have sat through another hour of more films and more music. I hope they do this again with different Warhol films some day — and maybe even different musicians to give a new group a chance to rise to this musical challenge.

  6. I loved the conceit, though I found the material varied in quality, not so much because it was half=assed, as one commentator says, but because it sometimes overwhelmed the actual footage. Wareham's songs were the perfect accompaniment to their sources. Martin Rev's deconstructed disco was brilliant but completely overpowered poor Jack Smith.

  7. The Fiery Furnace girl was absolutely out of place and her whining music didn't fit at all. Especially after a great Martin Rev and his minimalistic disco-noise beat. Seeing her complaining about a light guitar buzz coming from her guitar on a Warhol event (Andy Warhol, the guy that first discovered The Velvet Underground!), and let alone the music, was pretty pathetic. She shouldn't have been there at all.

    On the other hand the Atlas Sound guy was brilliant and perfect for the night. The others too... I almost missed the first one which i think was Tom Verlaine and enjoyed him as well. The Rev and Cox were the very best.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.