Andy Warhol, Jed Johnson, 1973

Andy Warhol

Jed Johnson

January 1973

United States

4 1/4 x 3 3/8 in. (11.4 x 8.6 cm

Medium: Polaroid, acrylic paint and silkscreen ink on linen

Current Location: Baruch Art Gallery

After moving to New York in 1949, a decade later Andy Warhol started creating paintings (at first handmade, later silkscreened) and capturing polaroid images lifted directly from the mass media. One of these works included Jed Johnson. Andy Warhol initially hired Jed Johnson to sweep floors at Warhol’s Factory, he subsequently moved in with Warhol and for twelve years was his lover. The Factory was Andy Warhol’s New York City studio, which had three locations between 1962 and 1984. The first factory was on the fifth floor at 231 East 47th Street, in Manhattan. Warhol called his studio “The Factory” due to the mechanical nature of Andy Warhol’s pop art, which became a suitable name for his place of work. The rent was only one hundred dollars per year which was a relatively low cost and was easily revamped to remain there until 1973.  Jed Johnson was an American interior designer and film director. Johnson and his twin brother Jay were born in Alexandria, Minnesota on December 30, 1948. He and Warhol worked on special projects together throughout the 1970’s-1980’s. Unfortunately, Johnson was killed as a passenger in the first-class cabin when  TWA Flight 800 came down shortly after takeoff in 1996. This original photo was taken via polaroid and later transferred into a painting format in January that same year. Through research, I found that most photos of Jed Johnson pricing starts at $15,000. I chose to include this work because it shows another romantic side to Andy’s idea of beauty. The story of the factory worker-turned-lover adds another layer to what Andy Warhol stood for and continued to break barriers for industry’ idea of appeal and the LGBT community.