The Warhol Museum commemorates the life and work of our friend, photographer Leee Black Childers, who passed away on April 6 at the age of 68. He was hospitalized after collapsing during the opening celebration of his exhibition in Los Angeles on March 22.
A short clip of Leee can be seen here, describing the notorious artists’ bar Max’s Kansas City, excerpted from the museum’s “Talk on the Wild Side” event in 2011. That discussion focused on the 1971 productions of Warhol’s play “Pork” and its influence on Glam rock, with cast-and-crew Cherry Vanilla (in support of her memoir), Tony Zanetta, and Leee (and moderated—such as it was—by me.)
Native Kentuckian Leee Black Childers was stage manager and official photographer for “Pork,” and an essential character of New York’s underground of the late-1960s and ’70s. He stage-managed Jackie Curtis’s play “Femme Fatale” at La MaMa ETC in 1970, “World Birth of a Nation” by Wayne County, and “Pork” at both La MaMa in New York and the Roundhouse in London, all directed by Anthony Ingrassia.
Leee became David Bowie’s official tour photographer for “Ziggy Stardust,” and spent a season in the Hollywood Hills house-sitting Iggy Pop and the Stooges. In addition to the Factory and Max’s, Leee was a regular at CBGB. He managed punks Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers and rockabilly revivalists Levi and the Rockats.
Leee’s documentary photos of “Pork” were shown at the Warhol Museum in the exhibition “Warhol Live: Music and Dance in Warhol’s Work” in 2009. His photographs of the punk scene have been shown worldwide. A book on his work, “Drag Queens, Rent Boys, Pick Pockets, Junkies, Rockstars & Punks,” was published in 2012.