Warhol in the Desert
By Chris Chang
A Super-8 "making-of" captures the legendary 1968 shooting of Lonesome Cowboys on location in Arizona
Back in the day, Tucson photographer Bob Broder used to string for The Arizona Republic. Eric Kroll, another local—and former Taschen book editor—recently unearthed a stash of negatives Broder shot on assignment in 1968. The focal point was Andy Warhol. The Pope of Pop had gone West, avec entourage, to shoot Lonesome Cowboys. Warhol was originally invited by yet another Tucson character, one Charles Littler, founder of the artist’s community, Rancho Linda Vista. Littler is no longer with us, but his Super-8 film, Warhol Out West, is very much alive, as is another small-gauge production, by Martin Holt, titled How the Western Was Done.
Both films offer never-before-seen perspectives on what was, intrinsically, a freak show in the desert. (That’s what you get when you put Taylor Mead on a horse.) Both were on view—accompanied by the first public offering of Broder’s newly discovered photos—at a savvy group show titled Warhol: From Dylan to Duchamp. The exhibition, curated by Kroll and the Eric Firestone Gallery, took place in Tucson from Feb 27 to April 25. Adding to the celebrity aura was work by 28 high-profile lens-slingers including Robert Mapplethorpe, Dennis Hopper, Annie Leibovitz, and Helmut Newton. Everybody shot Andy Warhol. The gallery sent the show’s catalogue, plus the films—now on DVD—to the Film Comment offices. For the connoisseur, the book is a plum. But the discs—the one we received was hand-numbered 22 of 25—are hot potatoes. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further info.