Lonesome Cowboys

Sep 11, 2016

(Andy Warhol, US, 1968, 16mm, 109 min)

Warhol’s satire of the American Western film features his usual coterie of “superstars” Joe Dallesandro, Taylor Meade, Viva among others. According to the original publicity poster, Lonesome Cowboys, shot on location in Tucson, Arizona in January 1968, represents “the true story of what it was like to live the life of a cowboy in the Old West…a story of men among men and the woman who tried to interfere.” Lonesome Cowboys continues Warhol’s deconstruction of masculine icons such as the biker, hustler, rocker, surfer, and the gay man himself.
The film production was under investigation by the F.B.I. According to one of the reports prepared by the F.B.I. on Lonesome Cowboys, "ANDY WARHOL Films, Inc. of New York City, N.Y. arrived at the Rancho Linda Vista Guest Ranch at Oracle, Arizona on 1/24/68 to stay one week. Complaint received that on 1/27/68 they made an obscene film... "  The F.B.I. report reveals a near-obsessive commentary on clothing, language and allegedly contains more graphic depictions of sex than appear in the actual film. Print screens courtesy of Museum of Modern Art.
Lonesome Cowboys won the best-film award at the San Francisco film festival at the end of the year. It was 1968, after all, and the counter-culture was taking over the mainstream. Morality was up for grabs, and Warhol's hip version of aberrance was wildly appealing - and widely denounced by outraged citizens with the FBI at their disposal.” -- B. Ruby Rich, The Guardian

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