In the early 1970s, David Bailey, a renowned photographer began to work in film and began making high-profile documentaries for ATV. His reputation allowed him unprecedented access to some amazing people and places one of which was Andy Warhol and his followers. Exploring his art work and work in film, this documentary features candid discussions revolving around sexuality, Warhol’s life at The Factory and his experience of being shot. It was initially banned for being ‘offensive’, that ban was later overturned.
"In bed with Warhol
In 1973 David Bailey got into bed with Andy Warhol. One was making a film about the other, but not the way around you’d expect. The film was due to be screened on TV but was pulled hours before broadcast, declared “offensive and indecent”. Well naturally.
Filmed as part of a triptych of fly-on-the-wall documentaries, the iconic photographer David Bailey interviewed Warhol, the film director Luchino Visconti (The Leopard) and the photographer Cecil Beaton. Bailey met Warhol before he was famous, even had tea with his mother. The bed scenario? “It was sort of a joke. Andy being camp.” Screened at Hamptons International Film Festival on Friday, the documentary reveals more about the artist than most attempts – there’s no secrets between the sheets. Working hard to project his art as nothing much in particular, nothing beyond its surface, and himself in the same way, Warhol is one of the most intriguing, beguiling characters in art history. But here he is in bed, with Bailey.
Last week, i-D Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Terry Jones met Bailey at Frieze and got talking about the documentary. Given the subject matter, Interview-style seemed fitting…
TJ: Look at the camera.
Bailey: I can see this blowing in the wind.
TJ: Have you heard that whole story about your dad sleeping with Andy?
Sacha Bailey: Warhol? Yeah sort of…
Bailey: It was for my art.
TJ: Art. Do people know the whole story?
Bailey: I doubt it. You want me to tell it now? I love the way he [Terry] thinks he’s getting around. It was sinful, Andy said I won’t do a film with you unless you go to bed with me so I said great, we can do the interview in bed together.
TJ: Did you keep your pants on?
Bailey: Oh I don’t remember. He wouldn’t show his scars, his Dior stitches. He always said, “I’m never naked because I look like a Dior dress, too many stitches.”
TJ: But that was the one where you were getting close in conversation with him?
Bailey: I think in all modesty, it’s the film where Warhol speaks the most out of all the films he’s ever done. He never really said anything. I had a bit of an advantage because I knew him ten years before he made the film, I knew him ten years before he got famous. It’s always easier if you know them before.
TJ: Was his mother around?
Bailey: Yeah, I had tea with her.
TJ: Why did he only want to do the interview in bed?
Bailey: It was sort of a joke, Andy being camp.
TJ: How long is the film?
Bailey: A television hour, 52 minutes, might have been an hour then. The film they’ve got left now is not a complete film, it has been cut about and chopped about, it’s still alright, in a way it gives it more of a history when it’s not the original, things have been taken out for censors and put back in the wrong place. It’s a bit of a hodge-podge but I quite like that.
TJ: What did you film it on?
Bailey: 16MM. "