Watch And Revisit Bob Dylan’s Screentest For Andy Warhol Back In 1965
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It wasn’t uncommon for artistic icons like Bob Dylan and Andy Warhol to rub elbows or cross paths with each other considering how intertwined their respective industries were. This was the case when Warhol was recording from his Bolex 16mm camera (and over 100-feet rolls of film), focusing on Bob Dylan to add the material to his flourishing number of short films.
An estimate of around 472 short films was made around 1964 to 1966 by Warhol and his assistant Gerard Malanga, which included names like Edie Sedgwick, Salvador Dali, Nico, Marcel Duchamp, Allen Ginsberg, Dennis Hopper, Lou Reed, and Susan Sontag being invited over Warhol’s Factory Studio. Dylan was next in line for this.
The film series was named “Screen Tests” as a reference to a running joke. According to Malanga: “None of these screen tests amounted to giving those people the opportunity to go on in the underground film world. It was kind of a parody of Hollywood.”
Some time in July 1965, around when Dylan played his first electric set at Newport, the counterculture figure wandered into Warhol’s studio. Of course, the filmmaker couldn’t let the opportunity pass and prepared two rolls of film for close-up and wide shots to capture the folk icon’s likeness.
According to Warhol biographers Tony Scherman and David Dalton, Warhol “was clearly star-struck, in awe of Dylan’s sudden, vast celebrity. He had a more practical agenda, too: to get Dylan to appear in a Warhol movie.”
Callie Angell also wrote about the meeting, saying: “The day Bob Dylan visited the Factory and had his Screen Test shot is a fabled episode in the lore of the Warhol 1960s, most notably as the occasion when Warhol gave Dylan a silver Elvis painting, which Dylan later gave to his manager Albert Grossman in exchange for a couch. Bob Dylan had significant connections with a number of people at the Warhol Factory; he was a friend of Barbara Rubin’s, who introduced him to Allen Ginsberg; he wrote a song for Nico, ‘I’ll Keep It with Mine’, which she later recorded. His manager Bob Neuwirth encouraged Edie Sedgwick’s defection from the Factory at the end of 1965… and he was also friends with Patrick Tilden-Close, the star of Warhol’s 1967 film Imitation of Christ.