Dorothy Podber, New York Art Scene's 'Wild Child,' Dead at 75

Dorothy Podber shot a bullet through a few of Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe silk screen paintings, re-enacted the shower scene from Psycho with artist Ray Johnson on the streets of Manhattan, and ran an illegal abortion referral service from her apartment. Even Mr. Warhol called her “too scary.” She was a “wild child,” indeed, of the 1950’s and 60’s as The New York Times writes this morning. She died of “natural causes” in her apartment at 75. More on the Warhol shootings after the jump.

In a 2006 interview with the writer Joy Bergmann, Ms. Podber said: “I’ve been bad all my life. Playing dirty tricks on people is my specialty.”

Certainly the most outrageous was her unsolicited contribution to a few of Warhol’s “Marilyn” silk-screen paintings. In the fall of 1964 Ms. Podber, a friend of the photographer and Warhol regular Billy Name, visited Warhol’s Factory on East 47th Street in Manhattan with her Great Dane (named Carmen Miranda or Yvonne De Carlo, depending on the account). Ms. Podber asked Warhol if she could shoot a stack of the “Marilyn” paintings; he apparently thought that she wanted to take pictures of them and consented.

But she produced a pistol and fired at them, penetrating three or four. One of them, “Shot Red Marilyn,” with a repaired bullet hole over the left eyebrow, sold for $4 million in 1989, at the time setting a record at auction for a Warhol work.

“After she left,” Mr. Name told Ms. Bergmann, “Andy came over to me and said: ‘Please make sure Dorothy doesn’t come over here anymore. She’s too scary.’ ”



Dorothy Podber, New York Art Scene's 'Wild Child,' Dead at 75