Warhol Museum premieres new exhibit on Warhol's longest-running project

When Andy Warhol is invoked, images such as the Campbell’s Soup Can, the Mao portrait, and the Marilyn Diptych immediately come to mind. Yet, the artist who famously popularized the term “15 minutes of fame” to aptly describe our throwaway culture may have his most enduring legacy with “Interview” magazine.

It is commonly known that Warhol had a wide range of passions, from art to music to film, pushing the boundaries of what was accepted with each avenue he explored. He indulged himself by collecting everything he came across and was genuinely enamored with a wide variety of topics. With an unfettered openness to explore new ideas and forge several new routes, Warhol’s approach strikes one as groundbreaking even today.

This is seen with “Interview,” which he established in the latter half of 1969. Warhol conducted interviews with celebrities, artists, and musicians; hence, the name of the magazine. The photo of the interviewee would be featured on the cover, edited in Warhol’s inimitable fashion.

Warhol was constantly surrounded by celebrities, so he took advantage of his social capital and took off running with "Interview". The magazine is still in circulation today even after Warhol’s passing in 1987.

To pay homage to his longest-running project, the Warhol Museum premiered a new exhibit on Saturday, Sept. 24 — “Andy Warhol’s Social Network: Interview, Television and Portraits.” Spearheaded by Chief Curator Jessica Beck and Director of The Andy Warhol Museum Patrick Moore, the exhibit looks at “Interview”; his television shows “Fashion,” “Warhol TV” and “Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes,” and his portraits of notable individuals.

Part of why “Interview” was so successful was because Warhol was engrossed by celebrities and could attract different types of them while making it appealing to the youth culture. This gave “Interview” staying power.

The exhibit features a collage of all 204 issues of “Interview” preceding Warhol’s passing, ranging from 1969 to 1987. It is truly something one needs to see in person, notable for its breadth and the sheer statement on celebrity it makes as one peruses the cover photos — some enduring legends and many other subjects memorializing their 15 minutes.
With all of the editions layed out, museum-goers see the evolution of “Interview.” Warhol was not alone in the creative process of the covers. In 1965, Warhol met pop art icon Richard Bernstein at his first independent exhibition. Interestingly, Bernstein started with black-and-white photographs that he then transformed into the eye-popping images that grab everyone’s attention.

With the instant appeal on the covers from Bernstein and personal, uncut interviews with stars, such as Olivia Newton-John, Elvis Presley, Rob Lowe, and Matt Dillon, to name a few, the magazine’s popularity was unprecedented.

“Interview” was more than an aesthetic masterclass. Warhol Museum Director Patrick Moore explained, “Andy Warhol’s Social Network reveals the importance of Warhol’s integrated business practices, which tied together publishing, broadcast, and fine art through his social connections. The exhibition reveals that Warhol’s success was not a matter of luck or even artistic talent but a carefully considered web of influence set in the compressed world of New York City.”