Brigid Berlin, the Artist Who Was Andy Warhol’s Best Friend But Never a Factory Groupie
2 min read · 26 Jul 2023
“Brigid Berlin: The Heaviest,” installation view. Photo by Argenis Apolinario. Courtesy Vito Schnabel Gallery
Brigid Berlin, best friend of Andy Warhol and star of his films and the Factory in its heyday, is on the HENI News radar.
An artist’s HENI score amalgamates data, such as auction sales, NFT sales, news and social media mentions, gallery shows and museum exhibitions.
Relatively few examples of Berlin’s Polaroids, typically of friends and acquaintances, needlepoint work and her famous “Tit Prints” have been auctioned in the past two years but in April 2022, two years after her death, Doyle in New York held a sale of her estate.
At the auction a 1996 Tit Print sold for $5,600, including buyers’ premium, more than three times its upper estimate.
Other "Tit Prints", which she created using her paint-dripped breasts, from around the same date have been offered by New Discretions in the past. The project was established by the founder of Invisible-Exports, a New York gallery linked to the artist that is now “paused”, according to its website.
Berlin's work has been shown at a Miami edition of NADA art fair.
Postcard collage from David Whitney to Brigid Berlin (1970), from the collection of Jordan and Kathleen Pike. Courtesy of Vito Schnabel Gallery
In 2015, Berlin showed her Polaroids in a solo show at New York’s Invisible-Exports Gallery in New York, which coincided with a publication that included a forward by the filmmaker and artist John Waters, who cast her in two of his films.
In 2020-21, the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, included Berlin's work in its sprawling exhibition “Femme Touch”.
At Vito Schnabel Gallery, “Brigid Berlin: The Heaviest” includes her audio recordings, many with fellow artists, alongside her Polaroid photographs and needlepoint textile works, typically based on tabloid newspaper headlines. The show, which evokes her flamboyant two-bedroom apartment in New York, is organised by the curator Alison M. Gingeras. It places Berlin at the heart of the New York artworld of the 1960s and 70s but also includes her post-Factory work.
Berlin (1939-2020) shunned the lifestyles of other young New York socialites. The daughter of the president of the Hearst media empire, she rebelled, becoming a member of Warhol’s inner circle, documenting the drug-fuelled antics of the Factory, in which she played a starring role.
While she never escaped the shadow of Andy Warhol, Berlin was never completely defined by their relationship. They spoke on the telephone almost daily until Warhol's death. She was also a friend of Gerhard Richter. She gave him several of her Polaroid self-portraits, which he included in his photographic archive, Atlas, and used as the basis of six portraits of Berlin that he painted in 1971.
“I had access to all these people because I was a peer, I was considered one of them,” she said of the artists and celebrities who appear in her photographs made in the 1960s and 70s art world. “I was never a groupie,” she declared.
To get a deeper understanding of Brigid Berlin’s career visit her HENI Dashboard; a unique graphical data tool illustrating an artist’s auction sales, shows, profiles, mentions and their HENI Score. You can search for any one of the 100,000 Artist Dashboards to quickly appreciate their trajectory as well as sharing via email, text and WhatsApp.