Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Ultra Violet, compatriot of Andy Warhol and later Mormon convert, died June 14, 2014. Courtesy of David Shankbone, under CC BY 2.5 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/
From the archives: Andy Warhol’s Mormon sidekick
First Published Jun 18 2014 03:38 pm • Last Updated Jun 19 2014 07:59 am

Editor’s note • French-born Isabelle Collin Dufresne, who kicked around with pop artist Andy Warhol in the ’60s as Ultra Violet and eventually converted to Mormonism, died Saturday.

She was 78.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Her funeral was Wednesday in an LDS chapel on the east side of New York City.

Here is a 2004 Salt Lake Tribune story about Dufresne and Mormons living in the Big Apple:

————

New York • Isabelle Dufresne left France for America in the freedom-loving 1960s and became the flamboyant Ultra Violet, Andy Warhol’s sidekick in his pop universe of parties, drugs, orgies, art and filmmaking. To members of her Mormon singles ward, though, Ultra Violet is just "Sister Dufresne," the quiet woman with a slight French accent who teaches at the monthly Relief Society Enrichment Night.

Such an eccentric artist is not unusual in New York City LDS congregations, which boast daytime soap stars, Broadway set designers and Martha Stewart assistants, not to mention dozens of painters, musicians, writers, opera singers, top models and aspiring actors.

This is an LDS community unlike any other, said American history professor Richard Bushman of Columbia University.

"There is a powerful artistic presence and a powerful professional presence in the wards here," says Bushman, who lives with his wife, Claudia Bushman, in a book-lined apartment overlooking Riverside Park.

There is also a wide range of diversity. The city’s LDS congregations include three English-speaking family wards, three singles wards, two Spanish-speaking wards, one Chinese branch, one deaf branch and a branch in Harlem.


story continues below
story continues below

That diversity is even more pronounced in the outlying areas of Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens and the Bronx, where pairs of dark-suited Mormon missionaries from Finland, Uzbekistan, England, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Russia can be seen seeking converts.

Thousands of members will come together this weekend to mark the completion of the faith’s first temple in New York City.

Tonight, 1,200 Mormon youths will present an evening of song and dance at Radio City Music Hall. On Sunday, more than 15,000 members, including Dufresne, will be on hand when LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicates the temple on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

It is the 119th temple built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a "house of the Lord," where Mormons reaffirm the teachings of Jesus Christ through sacred rituals of marriage, baptism and "sealings," which unite families for eternity.

Unlike most LDS temples that sit on large chunks of property, surrounded by manicured gardens, this one is in four floors of a six-story building the LDS Church already owned on Columbus Avenue. The temple in Hong Kong is similarly situated.

The temple’s proximity to the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts attracted much media attention during a five-week open house. More than 54,000 people toured the Mormon holy site, including U.N. ambassadors, Democratic U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Charles Rangel and Mike Wallace of "60 Minutes," who has become Hinckley’s good friend.

"I do believe in miracles and the temple in Manhattan is the greatest miracle I have witnessed," Dufresne said this week at her penthouse apartment overlooking the Guggenheim Museum. "It gives us hope. It’s a sign of comfort that the prophet is alive and he is coming here."

Mormon artists: LDS artists first started coming to New York City to study in the early 20th century. Mahonri Young, who sculpted the "Miracle of the Gulls," and Avard Fairbanks, whose works include monuments on Salt Lake City’s Temple Square and Relief Society building, studied at the Art Students League. So did a dozen Mormon painters along with such notables as Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, Georgia O’Keefe and Roy Lichtenstein.

"For the most part, LDS artists in New York City embraced new techniques and returned home [to Utah], eager to translate modernity to the Mormon experience," writes Glen Nelson in a 2003 issue of The New York LDS Historian. "The majority of the artists received commissions for public buildings, memorials, church houses, temples and church art collections."

Those who studied here between the World Wars have become "the most revered of the church’s artists," Nelson writes.

Today the church commissions only a few artists, but Mormons still come to New York to hone their skills. In an informal survey of the New York LDS stake in 1999, Bob and Julia Clayton identified 128 members who were either professional artists or full-time students majoring in one of the arts -- 44 musicians, 30 in theater or film, 10 dancers, 12 writers, 23 in the visual arts and nine in a related field.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.