The final interview

Part 2

Paul Taylor: The market for your work has changed a little in the last few years. To people my age — in their twenties — you were always more important than to the collecting group of people in their fifties and sixties.

Andy Warhol: Well, I think the people who buy art now are these younger kids who have a lot of money.

And that’s made a difference to your market.

Yeah, a little bit.

How important is it for you to maintain control?

I’ve been busy since I started — since I was a working artist. If I wasn’t showing in New York I was doing work in Germany, or I was doing portraits.

What I mean is that as more and more artists come up, and as new galleries open every day, the whole idea of what an artist is changes. It's no longer so special, and maybe a more special artist is one who maintains more control of his or her work.

I don’t know. It seems like every year there’s one artist for that year. The people from twenty years ago are still around. I don’t know why. The kids nowadays — there’s just one a year. They stay around, they just don’t...

You were identified with a few artists a couple of years ago - Kenny Scharf, Keith Haring.

We’re still friends.

But I never see you with any of this season's flavors.

I don’t know. They got so much press. It was great. I’m taking photographs now. I have a photography show at Robert Miller Gallery.

And there’s going to be a retrospective of your films at the Whitney Museum.

Maybe, yes.

Are you excited about that?


Why not?

They’re better talked about than seen.

Your work as an artist has always been so varied, like Leonardo. You’re a painter, a film maker, a publisher... Do you think that’s what an artist is?


Can you define an artist for me?

I think an artist is anybody who does something well, like if you cook well.

What do you think about all the younger artists now in New York who are using pop imagery?

Pretty good.

Is it the same as when it happened in the sixties?

No, they have different reasons to do things. All these kids are so intellectual.

Do you like the punk era?

Well, it's still around. I always think it’s gone but it isn’t. They still have their hard-rock nights at the Ritz. Do you ever go there?

No. But punk, like pop, might never go away.

I guess so.

How’s Interview [the magazine] going?

It’s not bad.

You’re going to be audited soon for the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Yeah, they’re doing it now.

What difference will it make?

I don’t know.

It will be better for advertising...


What's the circulation now?

170,000. The magazine’s getting bigger and bigger.

What magazines do you read?

I just read everything.

You look at everything. Do you read the art magazines?

Yeah, I look at the pictures.

You’ve been in trouble for using someone else’s image as far back as 1964. What do you think about the legal situation of appropriated imagery, and the copyright situation?

I don’t know. It’s just like a Coca Cola bottle — when you buy it, you always think that it’s yours and you can do whatever you like with it. Now it’s sort of different because you pay a deposit on the bottle. We’re having the same problem now with the John Wayne pictures. I don’t want to get involved, it’s too much trouble. I think that you buy a magazine, you pay for it, it’s yours. I don’t get mad when people take my things.

You don’t do anything about it?

No. It got a little crazy when people were turning out paintings and signing my name.

What did you think about that?

Signing my name to it was wrong but other than that I don’t care.

The whole appropriation epidemic comes down to who is responsible for for art. If indeed anyone can manufacture the pictures of those flowers, the whole idea of the artist gets lost somewhere in the process.

Is that good or bad?

Well, first of all, do you agree with me?

Yes, if they take my name away. But when I used the flowers, the original photograph was huge and I just used one square inch of the photo and magnified it.

What do you ever see that makes you stop in your tracks?

A good display in a window... I don’t know, a good-looking face.

What’s the feeling when you see a good window display or a good face.

You just take longer to look at it. I went to China, I didn’t want to go, and I went to see the Great Wall. You know, you read about it for years. And actually it was great. It was really, really, really great.

Have you been working out lately?

I just did it.

How much are you lifting now?

105 pounds.

On the benchpress? That’s strong.

No it’s light. You’re stronger than me, and fitter and handsomer and younger, and you wear better clothes.

Did you enjoy the opening party thrown by GFT at the Tunnel?

I had already been there before.

In the sixties you mean?

[laughs] No — the manager or someone took me around it a few days ago.

It’s a very convenient club for the Bridge and Tunnel people — they’ll be able to come in on those tracks from New Jersey.

I don’t know whether it was my idea to call it the Tunnel or whether it was someone else’s idea that I liked, but I think it’s a good name.

And lots of people turned out for Claes Oldenburg’s show that night.

He looked happy. A lot of people said he looked happy. I always liked Claes actually. You looked great the other night. I took lots of photos of you in your new jacket.

Yes? How did I turn out.

They haven’t come back yet. Next time you come by I’ll take some close-ups.

For the Upfront section of Interview perhaps? Except that I’m not accomplished enough.

You could sleep with the publisher.

If you were starting out now, would you do anything differently?

I don’t know. I just worked hard. It’s all fantasy.

Life is fantasy?

Yeah, it is.

What’s real?

Don’t know.

Some people would.

Would they?

Do you really believe it, or or tomorrow will you say the opposite?

I don’t know. I like this idea that you can say the opposite.

But you wouldn’t in this case?


Is there any connection between fantasy and religious feeling?

Maybe. I don’t know. Church is a fun place to go.

Do you go to Italy very often?

You know we used to make our films there.

And didn’t you have a studio in the country for a while?

Outside of Rome.

And did you you go to the Vatican?

We passed by it every day.

I remember a polaroid you took of the Pope.


Did you take that from very close up?

Yes. He walked past us.

And he blessed you?

I have a photo of him shaking Fred Hughes’ hand. Someone wanted us to make a portrait of the Pope and they’ve been trying to get us together but we can’t and by now the Pope has changed three times.

Fred said he used to feel like the Pope in the old Factory in Union Square. He used to go out on that balcony and wave at the passing masses underneath.

He has a balcony now.

Yes, but from the current Factory he can only see the reception area.

He can wave.

And sometimes it’s just as busy as Union Square too.