“He's a fag from New York, he's just a fashion thing, we've read his publicity, this is no serious artist.”

The response from the board of the ICA to the suggestion of a Warhol retrospective in February 1965. The ICA (the Institute of Contemporary Art) was a modest noncommercial art space at Wesleyan University in Philadelphia. Exhibiting there would hardly be considered a major career achievement. Warhol was in trouble though. Despite this being what may be considered the height of Warhol's much mythologized Factory years, he was hardly making any money and practically operating at a loss. It would also mark the first time for an artist to be offered a one-person show less than a year and a half after their first serious gallery exhibition.

Chairman of the board, Mrs. Horatio Gates Lloyd III decided to make the trip to New York and pay Warhol a visit together with ICA director Sam Green, a young recent hire who was pro Warhol, and who got the position out of sheer dumb luck (and connections).

From FACTORY MADE by Steven Watson:

“Warhol seemed uncommunicative, not responding to any of the diplomatic conversational ploys at which Mrs. Gates was so adept. When she asked Warhol about his interest in movies, he just looked at her and said nothing. 'Mr. Warhol,' she said, 'is there anything wrong?' Warhol looked at her and said, 'Uh, gee, Mrs. Lloyd, you are so great. I just think you're really terrific. Would you be in one of my movies?' Mrs. Lloyd reached for her pearls and said what a fascinating idea, what role did he have in mind. Warhol said, 'Would you fuck Sam?' When Green heard that, he thought, 'Oh God, there it goes.'

”'Mr. Warhol, what a very interesting idea and I'm quite flattered,' she said. 'However, you might realize that my husband is the administrative head of the CIA, and it might not be appropriate for me to play that role. Could you think of another?'

The retrospective was eventually approved and scheduled for the fall.