On this date in 1968- June 3, 1968 pop artist Andy Warhol was shot and seriously wounded by a radial feminist called Valerie Solanas. Solanas went to The Factory, asked the receptionist if she could see Warhol who was in his studio. She entered and shot thre times- seriously injuring Warhol, she also shot art critic Mario Amaya who wasn’t seriously injured and was going to shoot Warhol’s manager Fred Hughes point blank but the gun jammed. Warhol suffered near fatal injuries to his stomach, liver, spleen, esophagus and both lungs.Warhol was briefly declared dead but the doctors were able to revive him. He would spend two months in the hospital recovering. Solanas turned herself in to authorities hours after the shooting. She calmed she shot Warhol because he ‘had too much of a hold over me.” She was charged with attempted murder, assault and illegal possession of a firearm. She would be diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and would plead guilty to reckless assault with an attempt to do harm and served three years in prison and she received psychiatric treatment.
What was the connection between Solanas and Warhol? Solanas started an organization SCUM- Society For Cutting Up Men in 1965. Of course Solanas was the only member of SCUM. Later that year she attempted to get Warhol to produce a play she had written called Up Your Ass. Warhol and everyone else thought this play was terrible but Warhol did give her a role in his 1967 film I, A Man. Solanas had given Warhol a copy of her SCUM Manifesto- Warhol had misplaced it- Solanas thought that he was trying to steal her intellectual property and she became more and more paranoid about this- that he was stealing her brilliant ideas to cash in for himself- this drove her to showing up that day at The Studio in New York that day fifty years ago and shooting Andy.
Warhol would suffer from his wounds the rest of his life and would have to wear a surgical corset to hold his organs in place. Warhol would die in 1987 at the age of 58. Valarie Solanas would die of pneumonia 14 months later at the age of 52. From all accounts she was still a very disturbed person to the end.