R.I.P.SPECT: BILLY NAME

3 - 13 Most B Performance- Screen Test, Billy Name, photo by Rob Long

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WIKI P: William Linich, Jr. (February 22, 1940 – July 18, 2016), known professionally as Billy Name, was an American photographer, filmmaker, and lighting designer. He was the archivist of the Warhol Factory, from 1964 to 1970. His brief romance and subsequent friendship with Andy Warhol led to substantial collaboration on Warhol’s work, including his films, paintings, and sculptures. Linich became Billy Name among the coterie known as the Warhol Superstars. He was responsible for “silverizing” Warhol’s New York studio, the Factory, where he lived until 1970. His photographs of the scene at the Warhol Factory and of Warhol himself are important documents of the Pop art era.

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Name was responsible for taking still photographs at the Factory. Indeed, Name lived and worked at the Factory, having taken up residence in a closet at the back of the studio, at 231 East 47th Street. With the gift of Warhol’s 35 mm single-lens reflex Honeywell Pentax camera, along with its operating manual, Name taught himself the technical aspects of photography. He converted one of the Factory bathrooms into a darkroom, where he mastered methods of processing and developing film. These newly acquired skills, combined with his background in lighting and experimental approach to his work, resulted in a body of work which captured the “silver years” at the Factory (1963–70).

Name’s close friendship with Warhol – and his role in creating Warhol’s artistic environment – provided him with a unique perspective of the Factory, with a particular focus on a core group of “superstars”, who largely improvised before the camera. Name’s understanding of theatre and lighting was an important influence on the look and ambience of the Factory and of Warhol’s early films.

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