Confession : my first thought after someone recommended I read the Edie Sedgwick bio was what the hell am I gonna gain from poor little rich girl ? Edie was a chain-smoking, silver-haired speed fiend in mini-skirts, black tights and ermine furs .Her bio is a montage of interview transcriptions from people who knew her. Patti Smith, after seeing Edie’s photo in in Vogue : “She was it… radiating intelligence, speed and being connected with the moment.” Her scene was about the now, cut like a heart that wants to recall its beat.
En route to a party, Edie declared, “Let’s swear a lot tonight.” She curbed her Mercedes and paid no attention to traffic lights. Pop art, the Beats, later the scene at CBGB filled up with people who created their own worlds – present & vulnerable. Edie played to the crowd. A friend : “We liked bizarre people because we didn’t take ourselves that seriously.” New York City is a tough place, full of fragile people punishing parents and the social constraints of youth. Edie made you feel special; she pissed you off; she tapped into the buzzing of the moment.
[And is labelled “pretentious” and “narcissistic” today].
THE ART WORLD IS OVERWHELMINGLY CLAUSTROPHOBIC.
It’s replaced by the “idea” of art – being sad, being drunk, being high. Claustrophobic is the right word, not in a city-density way, but in little worlds, terrified of being uncool. In Edie’s time, people saw that life is ephemeral. They captured the fleetingness or dismantled boundaries. Art is blood and sweat and tears and life and death. Superstars became early leaders of Women’s Lib by just being themselves. Edie glittered in the night, unabashed, smart, beautiful, aristocratic and independent. She attacked the mic in front of her with all she had.
“Saviour.” 2016. Gouache, pen and ink. See more of my work in the gallery.