- Category : Passions-Criminal-Perpetrator-Homicide-serial
- Type : GE
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Triple Split
- Incarnation Cross : LAX The Clarion 1
American militant lesbian feminist, founder of the Society for Cutting Up Men (SCUM) and frustrated author of the radical "S.C.U.M. Manifesto." She attained notoriety by shooting pop artist Andy Warhol in 1968.
Valerie Solanus was sexually molested by her father sometime in the 1940s and after her parents divorced, she moved with her mother from New Jersey to Washington, DC where her mother remarried in 1949. After refusing to continue at a Catholic high school, the rebellious and headstrong Solanus was whipped by her grandfather. A runaway by age 15, by some accounts she may have become pregnant by a sailor she dated but still managed to complete high school in 1954. An attentive student at the University of Maryland, she
supported herself by working in the psychology department's animal laboratory. After a year of graduate work in psychology at the University of Minnesota, she traveled America, begging or prostituting herself until she ended up in Greenwich Village in 1966.
Early in 1967 she approached Andy Warhol at his studio, the Factory, about producing " Up Your Ass," her play about a murderous man-hating hustler. Warhol thought it "too dirty" and misplaced the script, her only copy. The same year, Solanus wrote and self-published her S.C.U.M. Manifesto, which detailed her grievances
against men. While selling mimeographed copies on the streets, she met a French publisher from Olympia Press who advanced her $600 for a novel based on the Manifesto. Later, in May 1967, when she demanded her script of "Up Your Ass" back from Warhol, he told her that he had lost the script. Solanus began telephoning him relentlessly, ordering him to give her money for the play.
In July 1967 he paid her $25 for performing in "I, a Man," a feature-length film he was making with Paul Morrissey. Solanus appeared as herself, a butch lesbian who rejects the advances of a male stud. She also had a non-speaking role in Warhol's "Bikeboy," 1967.
In the Fall of 1967 at Max's Kansas City, a New York café, Warhol and Viva verbally abused Solanus reportedly calling out, "You dyke! You're disgusting!" On 6/03/1968 Solanus went to the Factory and hung around until Warhol arrived. At about 4:15 PM they took the elevator to the studio together. The nicely dressed Solanus was carrying a paper bag, from which she produced a gun and shot Warhol as he spoke on the phone with Viva. She shot him three times, the third bullet penetrating his spleen, stomach, liver, esophagus and both lungs. While Warhol lay bleeding, she then fired twice at Mario Amaya, an art critic and curator, hitting him above the right hip with her fifth shot. Turning to Fred Hughes, Warhol's manager, she put her gun to his head and fired. After the gun jammed, she fled. That night at 8 PM, Solanus handed a .32 automatic and a .22 pistol to a rookie traffic officer in Times Square, explaining that she had shot Andy Warhol because, "He had too much control of my life."
Later, when asked by reporters why she shot him, she replied, "I have lots of reasons. Read my manifesto and it will tell you who I am." Charged with felonious assault and possession of a deadly weapon she was sent by the judge from the Manhattan Criminal Court to a hospital psychiatric ward for observation. On 6/13/1968, she appeared before the State Supreme Court, represented by a radical feminist lawyer who called her "one of the most important spokeswomen of the feminist movement." On June 28, she was indicted on charges of attempted murder, assault, and illegal possession of a gun. In August she was declared incompetent and sent to another hospital.
That month, Olympia Press published the "SCUM Manifesto." In June 1969, Solanus was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to "reckless assault with intent to harm." Warhol's refusal to testify against Solanus may have helped her receive the short sentence. Released from prison in September 1971, she was soon arrested again for harassing letters and calls to various people, including Warhol. From then on she had various spells in mental hospitals, but continued to work on her writings. After she disappeared for several years, Warhol's biographer Ultraviolet tracked her down in Northern California in November 1987. Solanus had a drug problem and was working as a prostitute. She died of emphysema and pneumonia in a welfare hotel in San Francisco on 4/26/1988. A film about her life, "I Shot Andy Warhol" was released in 1996. The original script of Solana's comic play "Up Your Ass" was eventually found by archivists at The Andy Warhol Museum. "Up Your Ass" subsequently premiered in San Francisco in 2000, three decades after Solanus first viewed its misplacement as an assault on her artistic credibility.