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CLOSE-UP: THE MIRROR AND THE VAMP

Andy Warhol, Lupe, 1965, 16 mm, color, sound, 72 minutes; double-screen projection, 36 minutes. Lupe (Edie Sedgwick). © The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, a museum of Carnegie Institute. All rights reserved.

To hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to nature.

Hamlet, III.ii

THE CLASSIC ERA of American avant-garde cinema—a tradition exemplified by Maya Deren, Stan Brakhage, and Jonas Mekas—was dominated by filmmakers who forged practices outside and opposed to the institutions and styles of the film industry. But within experimental-film circles, the same period also witnessed various dialogues and other productive relations with Hollywood, and Andy Warhol was, no doubt, the poster child of this tendency. His entrée into the world of avant-garde film was secured with Sleep (1963), which presented an alternative to the commercial cinema as uncompromising as any of Brakhage’s work, but over the next decade he turned increasingly toward Hollywood in terms of subject matter, genre, style, and mode of production. Finally, with Paul Morrissey’s Heat (1972) and Flesh for Frankenstein

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