Interview magazine, the famous art, fashion, entertainment and pop culture journal of downtown New York founded by Andy Warhol in 1969, has closed down, according to company sources.
The magazine was owned by Peter Brant, a billionaire art collector, who acquired the magazine in 1989. Its closure comes after months of turmoil, including staff being locked out as part of rent dispute, a lawsuit brought by a former editorial director over back pay and the resignation of a fashion director accused of sexual misconduct.
At its height, Interview was nicknamed “the Crystal Ball of Pop” and virtually defined eras of Manhattan as characterized by Warhol’s factory of avant garde superstars and socialites, the uptown decadence of Studio 54 and the downtown punk scene of CBGB and the Mud Club.
Warhol’s own interviews with people were invariably published in an intimate question-and-answer form, with subjects encouraged to riff on the minutiae of their lives, such as what they had for breakfast. Later, under the editorships of Bob Colacello and then Ingrid Sischy, the magazine transformed into a more coherent pop-culture publication.
But it was also a key part of Warhol’s art-business practice, with editors directed to place fashionable wives and girlfriends of wealthy businessmen on Interview’s covers; their partners could then be induced to purchase the screen print of the women from Warhol’s studio.
That ingenious business concept came to an end with Warhol’s death in 1987, though Interview never entirely lost its in-crowd edge. Still, in recent years, as magazine publishing in print has lost commercial viability, Interview focused more on fashion and became a showcase for photographers, art directors and stylists.
In February, the magazine was unceremoniously kicked out of its SoHo offices in downtown New York. The editorial director, Fabien Baron, and his wife, the stylist Ludivine Poiblanc, then sued Interview’s parent company, Brant Publications, claiming they were owed more than $600,000 for consulting and styling work.
Neither men were replaced, as rumors swirled that Penske Media, publisher of Rolling Stone, WWD and Variety, and flush with a $200m investment from a Saudi Arabian investment fund, might step in to acquire the title.
The loss of Interview comes less than a year after another well-known downtown title, the Village Voice, shuttered its print edition to go digital-only.
But in its glory days, little conferred sophistication like appearing on the cover of Interview, then named Andy Warhol’s InterVIEW. The artist dangled the promise of a cover like a glittering wand over downtown society.
In 1977, riffing on his famous dictum that in the future everyone in America would be famous for 15 minutes, Warhol told the late writer and editor Glenn O’Brien that when he was drunk, “I tell everyone they can be on the cover of Interview.”