Magazine article Artforum International

Dandy Warhol

Magazine article Artforum International

Dandy Warhol

Article excerpt

IN THE EARLY '80S, THERE WERE PROBABLY A HALF DOZEN artists, all of them very different from one another, who claimed a relationship to Warhol. I thought my work had something to do with Warhol, but so did Julian Schnabel. Warhol was one of the first artists to see the photographic image as the subject of a work of art. He was virtually unconcerned with anything tangible, real, or lived. For him, the photograph became reality, or his touchstone to reality.

I read Interview religiously in the '70s. I was fascinated by it--both the idea of the interview and the range of people the magazine covered. Warhol barely edited, he pretty much printed whatever he had on tape. Warhol always said that if you wanted to stay in circulation and have people notice you, you had to have something to offer them. In a funny way there's a nice moral there: If you want people to do anything for you, you have to be generous toward them. It's a lesson that has allowed me to engage with film, architecture, fashion, and music through Index. By covering these worlds in the magazine, I've had the chance to learn about them. Specifically, it was a strategy of getting myself out of the art world in the early '90s, at a time when New York had become boring and depressing.

Interview defined journalism in terms of letting the subject speak in his or her own words rather than through reportorial intervention. I found this tremendously important. It related to Warhol's approach to photography, and to recording in general. In a funny way it's the single thing that made Interview worth-while: You heard people's own voices rather than what journalists had to say about them.

I also see Warhol as a social theorist and activist in his approach to public life. The sociologist Richard Sennett has written that experience has become privatized and that public life diminishes from the nineteenth century onward. …

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