Billy Name's images from 1964-68 are one of the most important photographic documents of any single artist in history, capturing Warhol’s most significant period and offer unparalleled insight into Factory life.
On January 28, 1964, Warhol’s datebook notes, “New Studio 231 East 47th.” The space, a narrow floorthrough loft overlooking the street from the fourth floor of an industrial building in midtown Manhattan, would become The Silver Factory — a microcosm of the sixties and a focal point of avant-garde history.
After visiting Billy’s apartment on the Lower East Side, Warhol asked him to decorate his new loft. So, for the first six months of 1964, living in a tiny closet at the Factory, Billy was responsible for the legendary ‘silverizing’ of the space, covering every square centimetre in either silver foil or silver spray paint.
When done, Andy gave Billy a Pentax Honeywell 35mm camera and he then took on the role of resident photographer and archivist. His photographs document life at the Silver Factory from 1964 and show artwork creation, the filming of Screen Tests and features like Chelsea Girls, Vinyl and My Hustler, plus images of Factory regulars, including Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, Nico, Edie Sedgwick and Bob Dylan.
Billy Name departed the Factory in 1970 leaving most of his possessions, including the negatives, behind. It was after Warhol’s passing in 1987 that the Warhol Foundation contacted Billy with the offer of returning these negatives to him. It was then, in a nod to Warhol’s techniques, that Billy produced a series of beautifully stark silkscreens from these negatives.
Billy caught the energy of the Factory scene, but also its sense of sanctuary – a place where the freaks and outsiders could merge with the glamorous under the democratic gaze of Andy’s Super 8. Sean O’Hagan, The Guardian