Why Andy Warhol started Interview
As the magazine Andy launched finally goes down the tube we look into why he set it up in the first place
Interview magazine, the fashion and celebrity title founded by Andy Warhol, announced that it would be closing this week, and filing for bankruptcy. Many will undoubtedly mourn its loss, few of those doing so will have taken the time to buy and read it recently.
But it certainly is a pity to lose what was once so influential and entertaining a publication, though we should, perhaps, remember that Interview’s higher achievements came despite - and perhaps not because of - its illustrious founder.
“In the fall of 1969 Andy Warhol began publishing inter/VIEW magazine under the direction of Gerard Malanga,” writes the poet and Warhol scholar Kenneth Goldsmith in our book Andy Warhol "Giant Size". “Warhol had originally devised the idea of the magazine as a way to get into movie premiers and other events to which he was not invited.”
The title began, Goldsmith explains, as an underground magazine, devoted to movies. However, its style and focus altered in the early 1970s, with new staff, and a new emphasis on glamour.
“Glenn O’Brien and Bob Colacello were brought in to transform it into a slick monthly magazine devoted to celebrity culture,” Goldsmith explained. “It was rechristened Andy Warhol’s Interview which was later shortened to simply Interview.”
The title was glamorous, and addressed a broad, new audience, tired of earnestness, yet it retained certain elements that readers of Warhol’s early text works, such as his 1968 book A Novel, which consisted of taped conversational transcripts.
“The style of the magazine itself was very Warholian,” Goldsmith continues, “with unedited, rambling conversations – replete with every “um” and “uh” uttered – running for dozens of pages.”
However, Interviews subjects were no longer the druggy demi-monde “superstars” of Warhol’s 1960s milleu, but a far glitzier crowd.
“Regulars at the Factory during the mid-1970s included Yves Saint Laurent, Brigette Bardot, Diane von Furstenberg, Halston and Bianca Jagger,” Goldsmith writes, “all of whom were regularly featured in Interview either as subjects or as interlocators with other fabulously rich and famous people.
“Jagger, in particular, held many important connections. He introduced Andy to Jack Ford, the son of president Gerald Ford, not to mention her husband Mick, both merged seamlessly with Andy’s social scene.”
For more on Andy’s development, from 1960s avant-gardist to 1970s pop magnate, order a copy of Andy Warhol “Giant” Size here. For more on the artistic side of publishing get Artists Who Make Books.