His body blue, no blood pressure to speak of, and no pulse to find, artist Andy Warhol was declared dead on arrival at Columbus Hospital in New York City – 4:51pm on June 3rd 1968 – having just been shot by a former colleague at his workshop, The Factory.
Bleeding on the gurney, a senior doctor took a fleeting look at the corpse, peeling back an eyelid and watched as its pupil contracted in the bright emergency room lights.
Andy Warhol wasn't dead.
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In 1964, a few years prior to Andy's shooting, he had his photo taken in front of a bare Christmas tree, a blue spruce, stripped of all decoration.
Warhol's tree was left out of the cheery full-colour spread that filled Ladies' Home Journal that year and became known as his 'anti-Christmas tree', but neither Matt or I think that was his intention... Warhol's tree captures precisely what makes Christmas so special because whether you're a fan of the theatrics of religion or of commercialism, this time is a blank canvas to decorate as you see fit.
There is no right or wrong way to celebrate the holidays. Whether you spend this time surrounded by family, binge-eating food or in quiet contemplation of the year just gone, I hope you enjoy it.
Here's how Warhol spent his final Christmas in 1986:
I went to the church of Heavenly Rest to pass out Interviews [his magazine] and feed the poor. Got a lot of calls to go to Christmas parties but I just decided to stay in and I loved it.
You'll next hear from me on December 31st 2021.
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