RIP Billy Name, Photographer And Chronicler Of The Warhol Era
With heavy hearts, we learned that Billy Name (real name, William Linich, Jr.), the 76-year-old photographer who captured the superstars of Warhol’s Factory, passed away on July 18th.
In December 2014, Milk Gallery mounted his first solo exhibition. The show, Billy Name: The Silver Age, featured an extensive archive of Name’s photographs and ephemera of Warhol’s crew and collaborators during the Factory years. Black-and-white photos of Edie Sedgwick, Lou Reed, Nico, and Bob Dylan loomed as large as their legacies.
Name was more than an on-site photographer. As Andy Warhol‘s longtime friend, Name helped define the ethos of Warhol’s Factory, sheeting it in aluminum and silver spray paint. In a 2014 interview with Milk, Name recalled his devotion to silverizing the building. “I painted everything silver, the stereo, the ceiling, the furniture, even the little Coca Cola bottles after we drank them.”
He also spoke candidly on death, and on the value of the archive. “After Andy was shot he told me, ‘Billy, when I die I hope you’re there to carry me to heaven.’ I wasn’t there and it made me feel sad. Not long after that Vincent Fremont called me and told me that Andy had saved all of my things in my silver trunk. My astrology books, my charts, my photographs and negatives–it all came back to me.” Through Name’s photography, this era will survive as, in his own words, “ghosts on film for the world.”
To generations, Name’s work offered a glimpse at the artistic eccentricity of Warhol and his clique. As members of the Warhol superstars faded away, the photos have taken on a eulogistic air, but they never lost their youthful energy, the spark of artists caught in a rush of inspiration.
As Milk Gallery director Song Chong stated, “We mourn the loss of this important cultural figure and are thankful to have had the opportunity to work with him. We express our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.”
Stay tuned to Milk for more legendary photographers.
Images by Billy Name and Zlatko Batistich.