Projects like "Andy Warhol Presents Nothing Special" couldn’t come about in a linear manner. The materials that gave rise to this research endeavor came into our possession in a way that can only be described as serendipitous.
The Chelsea Hotel has long been a place where writers, artists, musicians, and actors come to dwell, to haunt the dreams of the city. It is here at The Chelsea that our project begins.
While working at Andy Warhol’s Factory in 1967, Jimmy Smith was living in a cramped second-floor room at The Chelsea, which had been the set for Warhol’s hit movie "Chelsea Girls." Smith, always looking to finance his drug addiction, helped himself to the art which lined the halls of the hotel, selling the photographs and paintings for cash, and very often stealing the art back from the buyer to sell it again. When his scheme was discovered, The Chelsea tacked the bill to Jimmy’s back rent, and locked him out of his room. Smith, nonplussed, offered to settle his debt with a "time capsule" from the Warhol factory.
It was in this way that The Chelsea came into possession of a cardboard box, a Warhol time capsule that Smith had purloined from the Factory. The box remained at The Chelsea Hotel until 1989, when one of the long-time residents of The Chelsea, Stuart Ritter, was moving out. Diane Ritter, the vacating resident’s niece, found the "Smith time capsule" in the closet of her uncle’s room. Her uncle explained that the box came into his possession during a 1987 renovation of room #217, where Jimmy Smith had once resided.
The box found its way to Dennis Hopper, a celebrated actor who was a passionate art collector of the Abstract Expressionist Movement as well as Pop Art. In the following years, Hopper began to organize and archive the contents of the box—film, photos, and notes—discovering that they all focused on Al, a Warhol love interest. Hopper took his findings around Hollywood and Cannes, attempting to generate investments for a feature film about the androgynous lover, but he was unable to excite backers, and the project foundered. After Hopper's death in 2010, his estate donated the research and the contents of the time capsule to The New School.
This site is the result of the research and archiving of the students, faculty, and administrators from The New School in New York City. It is thanks to a generous Innovations in Education grant from The New School that these materials are now available to the public.