In conjunction with Luxembourg & Dayan’s show on artists and their assistants, W has run George Condo’s mini-memoir of his brief experience working for Andy Warhol’s Factory. Oddly, he was originally hired because of his abilities as a writer af ter penning a press release. Then, Warhol asked that he come record the daily goings on at the Factory:
Four days after I got there, I started wondering, “What exactly am I supposed to write down?” How a studio assistant ordered steak tartare? How Rupert always yelled at everyone? Then one day, in came a portrait of Diana Ross, and there was a white spot in the middle of the black of her hair. They needed it restored and asked me if I could paint. They gave me a bottle cap, a dab of black paint, and a brush. They put the painting on the floor, and they all stood around me. I put down a tiny dot of black to cover the white, and they were all like, “Wow, that’s amazing.”
I worked at Warhol’s Factory for nine months and it was incredibly intense. They asked me if I wanted to be on the assembly line; I ended up doing all the diamond dusting. I would go in at 10 AM and finish at midnight — it was slave labor. We had to get things done under extreme pressure and execute it perfectly. On top of that, Andy was never at the Factory. He was in his office on 18th Street, and we were printing on Duane Street in TriBeCa. There was a telephone that sat next to the silkscreen machine and when it would ring, Rupert would pick up, listen, and say something like, “Andy’s on the phone. He wants to change the color from purple to black.” So then we would have to rush to change the entire print and make a whole new group of 300 pieces. And there were only about six or seven studio assistants. We made probably 5,000 prints over the course of the nine months I was there.
George Condo On Working with Andy Warhol (W Magazine)