Andy Warhol Drifts Away from the Downtown Underground

Andy Warhol Drifts Away from the Downtown Underground

Andy Warhol’s Pork, which debuted at La MaMa, also marked the beginning of the end of his significant ties to the downtown scenes, a transition embodied by the evolution of Interview magazine. Warhol launched it in 1969 as an underground movie magazine printed on cheap black-and-white newsprint—much like what was available in indie bookstores such as the Peace Eye—but by the early 1970s, Interview was reborn as a glossy magazine filled with celebrity photographs and transcripts of verbatim interviews. He traded in downtown companions like Jackie Curtis, Candy Darling, and Holly Woodlawn for the high-rolling glitterati of uptown and Europe, who could afford his art. Anyone could have a Warhol portrait made for $25,000—about $150,000 in today’s dollars—which became the bread and butter of the Factory operation. “If his Factory had been an incubator for many of the experimental tendencies of the New York underground of 1960s,” historian Andreas Killen wrote, “by the early 1970s it had been transformed into an increasingly professionalized operation dedicated to chronicling the lives of celebrities.”

From Chapter 24 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore


The Factory (Union Square)
33 Union Square W, New York, NY 10003