Yesterday, would have been Andy’s 85th birthday. The tributes have been pouring and as you can see by this cam photo from the live cam of his gravesite has become a shrine to the legend. So, I thought I’d share my own story here. I told it in Catherine Johnson’s recent book Thank You Andy Warhol, here’s an excerpt:

 “When (Andy) died so suddenly it was like a punch in the gut; everybody was shaken up. In ‘86, Peter McGough and David McDermott, great friends of mine, had just returned from a year’s stay in Italy. They had brought this blank memorial poster back with them. When someone dies in Italy, they make this traditional poster at the printer, and plaster them all over the streets… I took a blank memorial poster with PAX (peace) and palm fronds and filled it in with his name and the dates of his birth and death. I replaced the illustration of praying hands in an oval with Andy’s high school yearbook picture, and added a quote in from the bible. The type “ANDY WARHOL” was Xeroxed from the headline of the New York Post that read “ANDY WARHOL DEAD AT 58.” I printed the poster and we had them plastered it all over downtown, and several were given to the art critic Diego Cortez. He in turn gave one to Andy’s brother. About a year later, I was at the gallery 56 Bleecker and I saw a grave rubbing of Andy’s headstone by my friend Scott Covert. My jaw dropped. It turns out Andy’s brother had given the poster to the gravestone maker, who used it as a template for the headstone. It’s black marble, the same size as the poster. The gravestone maker removed Andy’s picture and added back the praying hands. So, inadvertently, I designed Andy’s gravestone.”

Trey Speegle, Andy Warhol, Memorial poster, signed edition of 50

Photograph of Warhol's gravestone by Todd Eberle