Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dennis Hopper, Taylor Mead, Andy Warhol connection

In late September 1963, Mead accompanied Warhol and others on a car trip cross-county from New York to Los Angeles for the opening of Warhol's Elvis exhibit at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles. This was Andy's second exhibit at the Ferus. His first was in the previous year from July 9 - August 4, 1962 which is generally accepted as Warhol's first solo pop show. At the first exhibit Warhol had shown the Campbell's soup paintings.

While in Los Angeles, Warhol and his entourage filmed scenes for what would become Taylor's first film for Warhol: Tarzan and Jane Regained.... Sort of. The film also featured Naomi Levine who played Jane and was the first person to appear naked in one of Warhol's films. During the shooting of Tarzan And Jane she ripped off her clothes and jumped into the swimming pool where they were filming. Warhol sometimes referred to her as his first superstar. Previous to making this film she had appeared in Jack Smith's film, Normal Love. Tarzan and Jane also featured Dennis Hopper, Pat and Claes Oldenburg and the artist Wally Berman in small roles. While in Los Angeles, Warhol also shot the footage of the Elvis exhibit that has become known as Elvis At Ferus.

Two paragraphs from Warholstars website. The Photo is Taylor Mead and Dennis Hopper filming their Tarzan Movie.

More on the Tarzan from
During one scene, Dennis Hopper appeared as a "stunt double" for Taylor Mead. Taylor, unable to climb a tree to get a coconut as called for by the film, yelled for a stunt man. Dennis Hopper (who Andy had met a few months earlier in New York) ended up climbing the tree for Mead. Later, in 1969, after the release of Easy Rider, Taylor would comment to Andy: "I think that afternoon by the pool was a turning point for Dennis... It opened up new possibilities for him." (POP45)

Dennis Hopper and wife Brooke Hayward gave a Hollywood party for Andy, Taylor and Wynn Chamberlain upon their arrival in LA. Dennis had bought one of the Campbell's Soup Can paintings at Andy's first art show at the Ferus. I heard the price was $75. Irving Blum, the gallery owner, bought back Hopper's purchase and a few others that had sold, and kept the collection together. The original 32 Soup Cans. He sold it to MOMA for several mil, a few years back.

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