Monday, April 13, 2009

Dorothy Podber

We just had an exchange with Matthew Rose through Facebook as we were both commenting on a "Bunny" drawing by Ray Johnson, which had been posted by Little Shiva. The short exchange prompted Matthew to post an entry from Wikipedia on Dorothy Podber. Here is the full article:

"Dorothy Podber (September 15, 1932 - February 9, 2008) was an American performance artist.
Born in the Bronx to a mother who had tried repeatedly, but unsuccessfully, to abort her, and to a father who worked for the Jewish mobster Dutch Schultz, Podber was later remembered as a disruptive influence by classmates from West Walton High School[1].
A wild child of the New York art scene in the 1950s and 1960s, she helped to run the Nonagon Gallery, which showed the work of a young Yoko Ono and was known for jazz concerts by such performers as Charles Mingus. However, her greatest fame—and notoriety—came from her work as a muse and collaborator with more prominent artists. On one occasion, she turned up at Andy Warhol's studio and put a bullet through a stack of his silk-screen paintings of Marilyn Monroe. These four paintings, thereafter, were called The Shot Marilyns.
Podber revelled in her bad-girl reputation. In an interview in 2006, she said:
"I've been bad all my life. Playing dirty tricks on people is my specialty."[2]
When funds were low, she found unorthodox ways of making money, engaging in businesses as diverse as dispatching maids to doctors' offices in an attempt to gain access to their drug cabinets, and running an illegal abortion referral service. She did paperwork for B'nai Brith long enough to pick their safe and use its contents on her own check-counterfeiting machine. Her attitude to these enterprises bordered on indifference. "I never worked much," she reputedly said.[3]
She was married three times, and had numerous casual liaisons. Her last husband was Lester Schwartz, who died in 1986.[3] One boyfriend was a banker with whom she would have sexual intercourse only on the banknote-strewn floor of his firm's vault. She had no children by any of her partners.
She died in her Manhattan apartment on February 9, 2008, from natural causes."

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