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The Andy Warhol Diaries by Andy Warhol

The Andy Warhol Diaries (edition 1989)

by Andy Warhol, Pat Hackett (Editor)

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6371015,184 (3.71)10
Title:The Andy Warhol Diaries
Authors:Andy Warhol
Other authors:Pat Hackett (Editor)
Info:Warner Books (1989), Hardcover, 807 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Andy Warhol Diaries by Andy Warhol



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  EclecticAthenaeum | Mar 27, 2016 |
My husband surprised me with this book for Christmas, meaning it was not one that I had asked for beforehand. Another surprise was how much I enjoyed reading it. It is a big book and I initially thought it would take a long time for me to finish, but I read it constantly whenever I could (that it was partly during winter break -- a slower time than the usual routine helped me finish it sooner).

The Andy Warhol Diaries is not what either of us thought it would be -- it is not an in-depth analysis of what he did artistically. Neither is it a diary that Warhol penned with his own hand. In the 1970s, Warhol began relating his daily incidents to his employee, Pat Hackett, over the phone. She would write longhand then type it out, turning the pages in to him on a regular basis. This continued on until his death from complications of a gallbladder operation in 1987. Pat Hackett then condensed the diaries into this book; it was originally published not long after his death.

During the time frame that the diary was "written" Warhol was already established as an artist and employed people to assist in his creations, so it was largely up to him to schmooze and party with people who would be potential clients -- clients that would pay $25,000 to have their portraits done in the traditional Warhol style. While he did other works during this time, the portraits were Warhol's bread-and-butter (to support himself and the salaries of his employees).

Being part of New York society means that Warhol associated with a lot of famous names -- Halston, Bianca Jagger, Jamie and Phyllis Wyeth, Yoko Ono and her son Sean Lennon, and so on and so on. These people seemed to party constantly! Warhol would mention coke, amphetamines, and so forth. Going into the 1980s, he begins to mention people who were sick with (or suspected to be sick with) the "gay cancer".

I enjoyed his often-sharp observations on people and events. Although, he could sometimes be dismissive of other artists such as referring to one of Andrew Wyeth's sister as "nutty who looks like she drinks and paints" (Nov. 25, 1976), or attending a Georgia O'Keeffe show and he says "she does these flowers and slashes and all she does is paint vaginas. And we saw some other people stuff and you can tell the girls' stuff always because it's simple things, it's the easy stuff. You can tell". (Aug 2, 1981)

Sometimes one gets a glimpse of people who get better-known and in some cases, more significant, much later on (usually after Andy's death): An entry for August 2, 1982 starts out with: "Mark Ginsburg was bringing Indira Gandhi's daughter down and he was calling and Ina was calling and Bob was calling saying how important this was, so I gave up my exercise class and it turned out to be just the daughter-in-law, who's Italian, she doesn't even look Indian". That would be Sonia Gandhi who became a prominent Indian politician in her own right.

Warhol did some artistic collaborations with Jean-Michel Basquiat, and several diary entries discuss Basquiat's drug addictions and on January 12, 1985, Warhol says: "Someone was saying that when all these [art] dealers heard there was a really talented black artist who would probably die off soon from drugs, that they hurried to buy his things and now I guess they're frustrated because he's staying alive. I think Jean Michel will be the most famous black artist after this New York Times thing comes out". Basquiat did eventually die of a drug overdose a year after Warhol's death.

When I finished reading this, I was left wishing that Warhol had done this diary format from the beginning-- then readers would get a glimpse of his daily life when he was developing as an artist, how he came up with his artistic concepts, and so forth. ( )
  ValerieAndBooks | Jan 10, 2015 |
Fun read! Bought when it originally came out in the 80's ( )
  Suzanne_Mitchell | Dec 29, 2013 |
I really enjoyed reading his diary. He is so much more than soup cans.

One of the cardinal rules in cinema is that children or animals don't get hurt. Remember the scene in Warhol's movie Bad where the mom is talking on the phone and her baby won't stop crying? She gets so fed up she throws him out the window of her high rise apartment. When he finally hits the side walk below blood splatters all over a woman walking by in a yellow dress. When the camera pans back to the mom's face she seems like she's recovering from an orgasm. The camera pans back to the dead baby and a dog lapping up the blood around the baby's smashed skull. When I first saw that I was hooked. I couldn't stop laughing at the deliciously demented deviance of it all.

In some ways, the Factory was like the Ken Kesey West Coast group scene.

One other intertesting thing about Warhol is that there was a whole cache of religious art he painted up in his attic that few knew about. ( )
1 vote ElectricKoolAid | Jan 3, 2013 |
Pat Hackett was Andy Warhol’s secretary for more than 20 years. Although she describes herself as his secretary, their cooperation was much closer than that professional label suggests. Warhol and Hackett co-authored two books. In case of The Andy Warhol Diaries, Hackett is presented as the editor. On the other hand, the two-line biographical note in the Penguin Modern Classics edition lists her serving as his diarist.

The Andy Warhol Diaries is preceded by a 25-pages foreword, written by Pat Hackett, explaining how the diaries were written, and how they should be read. According to Hackett, the diaries should be read cover-to-cover, to be read as a whole, without skipping. That is quite a bold statement for a book which counts 1123 pages, and is, in fact, rather boring. She does not tell the reader exactly why it should be read that way, but it suggests, covertly, that the work should be seen as a Gesamt Kunstwerk, something that only works as a whole, not in parts.

Diaries are usually published after the author’s death. If published during their life time, diaries are either considered to provide key information on a particular period or were conceived in a particular way by their authors to describe (part of) life as the author (intentionally) wants to share with their readers. A diary is usually written by the author him- / herself, and usually provides intimate, personal descriptions of their life, work and reflections. Readers of diaries are usually motivated to read through hundreds or thousands of pages, hoping to find a representation of the historical life time of the author, and become closely acquainted with their lives and ideas.

Andy Warhol is the author of these diaries, but he did not write them. This is not so unusual as it seems; for hundreds of years there have been writers who dictated a scribe to do the actual writing, and in modern times, authors are known to have recorded their journal entries with a tape recorder. Warhol telephoned Hackett every day, and she recorded what was discussed. How this was done is not explained, which is an important omission. The reader is told that the morning call consisted of a “warm up” – a free talking, which they considered not part of the diary, followed by one or two hours of “doing the diary.” Beside the ‘Diary calls’, Hackett and Warhol worked closely together, and many parts of those conversations are added to the Diary. It is not clear whether Hackett recorded and subsequently transcribed everything, or typed while they were on the phone or made notes. The foreword does tell us that these 1123 pages represent only about 10% of the total material, which is estimated at 20,000 pages. In any case, the journal entries must have been edited at some stage, because they consist of full, complete and grammatical sentences, clearly not merely a transscript.

Hackett tells us that this selection presents the reader with the best and most representative part. She claims that although in some cases entries for days or whole weeks were omitted, the cutting entailed most often, just parts of days, citing as an example that if Andy went to five parties on a day, only one is reported. How and when such decisions were made is not explained, or mentioned in a byline. For example, the two weeks during which Truman Capote’s death occurred are missing, apparently because Hackett was away for other work between August 22 and September 11, 1984.

Reading the diaries it also becomes clear that a lot of information that the reader might look for is missing. Actually, Andy Warhol is missing, most of the time. The diaries are not a particularly intimate or personal record. They are much more like a log book. It is explained that the diary started as a log to register expenses, which could be used to satisfy the Tax Office. The Diary / Log was preceded by Lists of names of famous people Warhol met or visited. For the most part, these Diaries report where he went, whom he met (there) and how much the taxi + meal cost, etc. Really rather boring.

The Andy Warhol Diaries span the period from November 1977, till his death in February 1987. Artistically, this was a relatively uninteresting period in Warhol’s life, as most of the work he is famous for took place in the period before that. The Diaries are more about “work”, and less about his “life”. His private life is specifically kept out of the Diary. On the few occasions where Warhol is overcome by emotion, he refuses to report to Hackett telling her that the Diary can write itself. The Diary calls were only made on Monday through Friday, but the weekends were reported on the following Monday.

There is some travel, mostly to Paris and Zurich, and a trip to China (Oct. 27, 1982 Hong Kong, Nov. 1-4 Beijing, and Nov. 4-6 Hong Kong). Most is reported about ongoing work on paintings, books and Interview. It is advisable to read the introduction first, as a number of relations are explained, as well as the expression gluing myself.

However, some of Warhol’s life does seep through. Firstly, we learn that “apart from his work”, he leads a very regular, perhaps even boring life. He hangs out with all these groovy people, and is dazzled by gay life and discos, but invariably goes home alone. The Diary never reports sex or infatuation. There does not seem to be a partner. There is only the merest suggestion that he was fond of Jon (Gould), until Gould’s death is reported on Sept. 21, 1986, news which I don’t want to talk about., adding And the Diary can write itself on the other news from L.A. The news is included in (the only) Note added by Hackett on this page (p. 1057).

The Diary only once reports that Andy felt depressed and cried (April 19, 1981), because he feels he is getting old. Warhol regularly goes to church. He reads very little, or it is only reported in relation to his work, for example some pulp fiction on a plane, or authors who are featured in Interview. Lots of famous people pop in and out of the picture, and there is a lot of names dropping. Victor Bockris appears regularly, which lends him more credibility as Warhol’s biographer. Mostly absent is Michael Jackson. In the early Eighties Warhol makes the emergence of AIDS (first referred to as “gay cancer) very palpable, capturing the fear that surrounded it originally: I didn’t invite Robert Hayes to ride up with me because he was with his sister and his boyfriend Cisco, and Cisco has AIDS so I didn’t want to be that close to him. (Feb 11, 1983).

It can probably be argued that The Andy Warhol Diaries fits Warhol’s philosophy and other art work, in that it exemplifies the ordinary. ( )
2 vote edwinbcn | Feb 2, 2012 |
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This international literary sensation turns the spotlight on one of the most influential and controversial figures in American culture. Filled with shocking observations about the lives, loves, and careers of the rich, famous, and fabulous, Warhol's journal is endlessly fun and fascinating.

Spanning the mid-1970s until just a few days before his death in 1987, THE ANDY WARHOL DIARIES is a compendium of the more than twenty thousand pages of the artist's diary that he dictated daily to Pat Hackett. In it, Warhol gives us the ultimate backstage pass to practically everything that went on in the world-both high and low. He hangs out with "everybody": Jackie O ("thinks she's so grand she doesn't even owe it to the public to have another great marriage to somebody big"), Yoko Ono ("We dialed F-U-C-K-Y-O-U and L-O-V-E-Y-O-U to see what happened, we had so much fun"), and "Princess Marina of, I guess, Greece," along with art-world rock stars Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francis Bacon, Salvador Dali, and Keith Haring.

Warhol had something to say about everyone who crossed his path, whether it was Lou Reed or Liberace, Patti Smith or Diana Ross, Frank Sinatra or Michael Jackson. A true cultural artifact, THE ANDY WARHOL DIARIES amounts to a portrait of an artist-and an era-unlike any other.
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Andy Warhol kept these diaries faithfully from November 1976 right up to his final week, in February 1987. Written at the height of his fame & success, Warhol records the fun of an Academy Awards party, nights out at Studio 54, trips between London, Paris & New York, & even the money he spent each day.… (more)

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Legacy Library: Andy Warhol

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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