VALERIE SOLANAS (ca. 1965) Photo


[New York: Howard Smith, ca. 1965]. Vintage original 10 x 8″ (25 x 20 cm.) double weight black-and-white print still photo. Holograph printing notations in upper blank margin, overall near fine.

An extremely scarce portrait of the notorious Valerie Solanas, now remembered for having shot Andy Warhol. The photo has a holograph notation on verso: “Credit Howard Smith.” Smith was a journalist and photographer who had a long association with the Village Voice newspaper.

“Valerie Jean Solanas (April 9, 1936 – April 25, 1988) was an American radical feminist known for the SCUM Manifesto, which she self-published in 1967, and for her attempt to murder artist Andy Warhol in 1968.

“Solanas had a turbulent childhood, reportedly suffering sexual abuse from both her father and grandfather, and experiencing a volatile relationship with her mother and stepfather. She came out as a lesbian in the 1950s. After graduating with a degree in psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park, Solanas relocated to Berkeley. There she began writing the SCUM Manifesto, which urged women to “overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and destroy the male sex.”

“In New York City, Solanas asked Warhol to produce her play Up Your Ass, but he claimed to have lost her script, and hired her to perform in his film I, a Man, by way of compensation. At this time, a Parisian publisher of censored works, Maurice Girodias, offered Solanas a contract, which she interpreted as a conspiracy between him and Warhol to steal her future writings.

“On June 3, 1968, Solanas went to The Factory, shot Warhol and art critic Mario Amaya, and attempted to shoot Warhol’s manager Fred Hughes. She then turned herself in to the police. Solanas was charged with attempted murder, assault and illegal possession of a firearm. She was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and pleaded guilty to ‘reckless assault with intent to harm,’ serving a three-year prison sentence, including treatment in a psychiatric hospital. After her release, she continued to promote the SCUM Manifesto. She died in 1988 of pneumonia in San Francisco.” (Wikipedia)

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