In a new exhbition, the writer, photographer and long-time friend and biographer of Andy Warhol, shares his look at VIP culture of the late 70s and early 80s
It was not in New York but in Germany, that the writer, editor and photographer Bob Colacello bought a spy camera.
He was with pop artist Andy Warhol, who was commissioned to take Polaroids of Willy Brandt, the then chancellor of west Germany, in 1976.
Now, 170 photos are going on view as part of Pictures From Another Time: Photographs by Bob Colacello, 1976 1982, an exhibition at Vito Schnabel Projects in New York. These behind-the-scenes shots of Truman Capote, Mick Jagger and Liza Minelli trace Colacellos access as a VIP connoisseur.
I never had to social climb, Andy knew I could talk to anyone, so he started taking me to parties with him, said Colacello, sitting in Schnabels office, wearing his trademark tortoise shell Ray Bans.
There is a photo of Warhol and Brandt in the exhibition, which sums up its crux its the meeting of celebrity with politics.
Andy was a famous artist that had access to everyone, said Colacello. Who was buying the art? The rich people. Who was funding the politicians? The rich people.It all blended.
There are photos of Jimmy Carters inauguration in 1977 and Ronald Reagans inauguration in 1981, both of which Colacello attended with Warhol. Andy voted for Carter, I voted for Reagan, my family was Republican, he said.
There are shots of Warhol with Jerry Zipkin, a real estate heir who was close with the Reagans (and was known for his argumentative nature a taxi driver once broke his ribs in a fight, but Zipkin apparently still attended the dinner party).
People wouldnt typically think Andy would be friends with Nancy Reagans best friend, said Colacello. Jerry helped Andy get commissioned portraits of rich ladies.
From Ringo Starr to Robert Rauschenberg, theres the odd shot of a young John Travolta with sideburns, Estee Lauder having a drink and Robert Mapplethorpe smoking. I loved taking photos with hands blocking out a face, its not people posing, its a party, he said.
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