From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Valerie Jean Solanas (April 9, 1936 – April 25, 1988) was an American radical feminist and author best known for writing the SCUM Manifesto, which she self-published in 1967, and attempting to murder Andy Warhol in 1968.
Solanas had a turbulent childhood. She said her father regularly sexually abused her and she had a volatile relationship with her mother and stepfather after her parents' divorce. She was sent to live with her grandparents but ran away after being physically abused by her alcoholic grandfather. Solanas came out as a lesbian in the 1950s. After graduating with a degree in psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park, Solanas relocated to Berkeley, California, where she began writing her most notable work, the SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men) Manifesto, which urged women to "overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and eliminate the male sex."
Solanas moved to New York City in the mid-1960s. She met pop artist Andy Warhol and asked him to produce her play Up Your Ass. She gave him her script, which she later accused him of losing or stealing. After Solanas demanded financial compensation for the lost script, Warhol hired her to perform in his film, I, a Man, paying her $25. In 1967, Solanas began self-publishing the SCUM Manifesto. Olympia Press owner Maurice Girodias offered to publish Solanas's future writings, and she understood the contract to mean that Girodias would own her writing. Convinced that Girodias and Warhol were conspiring to steal her work, Solanas purchased a gun in early 1968.
On June 3, 1968, she went to The Factory, where she found Warhol. She shot at Warhol three times, the first two shots missing and the third wounding Warhol. She also shot art critic Mario Amaya and attempted to shoot Warhol's manager, Fred Hughes, point blank, but the gun jammed. Solanas then turned herself in to the police. She was charged with attempted murder, assault, and illegal possession of a gun. She was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and pleaded guilty to "reckless assault with intent to harm," serving a three-year prison sentence, including treatment in a psychiatric hospital. After her release, she continued to promote the SCUM Manifesto. She died in 1988 of pneumonia in San Francisco.