PRINT October 2004


Collier Schorr

JON VOIGHT IS WALKING ACROSS PARK AVENUE. “HEY JOE,” someone says, kind of low, like Jimi Hendrix, but shy, too—“Hey Joe Buck.” Jon Voight, who is Joe Buck, is slouching toward a voice. The voice, which is lyrical, has come from the streetlights and the flowerbeds and the island between the avenues, and Jon turns his head of bright hair back and forth before settling on which way to direct his sloping gait.

In his new Berluti di Parigi boots, Joe Buck is, according to James Leo Herlihy, who chose them, “six foot one and life was different.” Of course, it goes without saying that the boots are a disaster, but they do help advertise the rise between his thighs. On the heels of his boots he can tilt and bow his legs, making his authenticity, well, authentic, whether as a cowboy, an actor, or a trick.

Cowboy boots in New York City look right only on an outsider, a visitor who doesn’t know any better. To wear cowboy boots on pavement far from Houston or Hollywood is to insist that you are from somewhere else—a punk hustler, a runaway, or a millionaire.

So when Andy Warhol calls out Joe Buck’s name, letting it hang like an ornament in the air, the cowboy turns, with the assumption that he is about to score. But no. Approaching with a clip-clop much the same as Joe’s, Andy Warhol asks a question. Joe then cocks his hips like they’re ears. “How much?” Andy repeats, with some confusion. “Yes, the boots. How much did they cost?” After some discussion, in which it is revealed that the Berlutis were a gift from a Texas ballet master, Joe agrees to trade his boots for Andy’s. “Wait,” the insistently thin man says, calling to a shadow behind him, “Gerard, let’s take his picture; let’s take a picture of him giving me my boots. Doesn’t he look great standing in the bed of daffodils?” And this is remarkable. Although Andy is not six foot one but considerably smaller, they share the same shoe size. Joe leans over, offering the small of his back as an aid. “Oh, your jacket is so soft, and it smells so real,” Andy says. Joe Buck would give it up, of course, but Andy knows that the boots are as western as he can go. They slide on soft as butter, warm as a summer day in the golden glint of Jon Voight’s hair.

Collier Schorr has a solo show at the Fotogalleriet in Oslo this month and will be included in “Seeing Double: Ten Encounters with Warhol,” an anniversary exhibition at the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, in February.