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Posted in: Feminism

Published on May 22, 2020 by Phyllis Chesler

Published by Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and Violence

When Valerie Solanas Shot Andy Warhol: A Feminist Tale of Madness and Revolution


Valerie was on a military mission. She moved like a shot, nothing slowed her down. She had only one thing to say, and she’d say it with a gun. She carried her pistol in a paper bag. Valerie looked awkward, menacing, like a street person, a wino, or a maniac, she had too much energy and too much self-absorption for a woman.

Valerie exited the elevator on the sixth floor of 33 Union Square West, Andy Warhol’s Factory, where underlings stretched canvases, ordered the silkscreens, swabbed on the paint and mass-produced the same image over and over again: Marilyn Times Twenty, Jackie in Blue, Jackie in Gold, Double Elvis. Masterful insect vision, and a capital concept. Warhol used everything, and everyone; he was celebrated for doing this. People threw themselves at him, to be used and discarded “by Warhol,” as if this was his true art form, and they his true subjects. Well, Valerie had had enough.

Solanas wrote:

“She’d seen the whole show—every bit of it—the fucking scene, the sucking scene, the dyke scene—(she’d) covered the whole waterfront, been under every docks and pier—the peter pier, the pussy pier… you’ve got to go through a lot of sex to get anti-sex… funky, dirty, low-down, (she) gets around… (she’s) been through it all, and (she’s) now ready for a new show; (she) wants to crawl out from under the dock.”

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