Andy Warhol’s interviews as works of pop art.
I’ll Be Your Mirror contains over 35 interviews Andy Warhol gave during the last 25 years of his life. Most of them were done in the 1960s, his most prolific decade.
Selected from over 200 print and broadcast interviews with Warhol by poet and editor Kenneth Goldsmith, these conversations are some of the most insightful materials on the artist, each revealing a different aspect of his personality. As Kenneth Goldsmith writes in his preface, “there are pieces focusing on all areas of his vast oeuvre and voracious life: Andy as painter, filmmaker, publisher, promoter, performer, printmaker, photographer, author, and videographer; there are interviews on Andy’s opinions of other artists; what it was like to go shopping with him; how he felt about New York; how he felt about being a Catholic.” In the end, he believes, the reader will get an extraordinary sense of having peeked into the artist’s mind.
In the introduction to the book, art critic Reva Wolf says that Warhol turned his interviews into artworks, or, to be more precise, into works of pop art. He never followed the rules, or did what he was expected to do—even if at times that meant speaking in clichés instead of being predictively original. He often quotes unexpected sources, politicians, his peers, or even books about himself. As an act of subversion, Warhol often caught interviewers who were ready to stick a label on his work off guard, encouraging creativity on the interviewer’s part.
The interview genre seems to have been made for Warhol (he did take a lot of interviews himself, for his magazine). An interview is always collaborative, and collaboration is what Andy Warhol was good at—whether he was shooting a film, painting, or writing.
The interviews he gave were works of art in at least a two ways. First, he was continuously creating an image of himself, and second, even the simplest of his answers—like “yes,” or “I don’t know”—can be seen as signs. In the same way, quotes from the interviews of film stars are verbally analogous to his famous prints. In other words, every single one of his interviews was a performance.
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