Thursday, May 9, 2019

Warhol's Banana

Andy Warhol was a master of reinterpreting the images and resources around him. Building on the Dadaist ideas of Marcel Duchamp, Warhol took American graphic design, from newspaper clippings to magazine headlines to something in his fridge, and transformed it into art. But one piece of Warhol's work has never been traced back to an original source… until now – Warhol's iconic Banana cover for The Velvet Underground and Nico.

The album, which featured a banana skin you could physically peel, is amongthe most collectible LPs. Danzig member Howie Pyro revealed in an op-ed piece that he accidentally stumbled upon the original banana in a junk shop "in the mid-80s" in the Lower East Side of New York, only realizing recently what it meant to rock and NYC history. "There was one on Broadway that I had never seen before right down the street from Forbidden Planet and the greatest place ever, the mighty Strand Book Store. I went in and there was a lot of great stuff for me. I found some old records, a huge stash of outrageous and disgusting tabloid newspapers from the sixties which I kept buying there for a couple months afterward, and some cool old knick-knacks.

"I knocked into something on a crowded table full of junk and heard a big CLANG on the cement floor. I bent down to pick it up. It was one of those cheap triangular tin ashtrays that usually advertised car tires or something mundane. I picked it up (it was face down) and when I turned it over I was surprised to see…THE BANANA!"