THE ART WORLD 1987
Andy Warhol’s memorial was an occasion that brought together one of the greatest cross-sections of society of all time. Talk about high-low!
Even though he died unexpectedly in February 1987, the actual service was held on April Fool’s Day at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, but whoever organized it was no fool. The talk was that it was a big coup for Andy that it was in that iconic church. I was the editor of an art magazine at the time, so I didn’t really know the Warhol crowd other than by the myths that surrounded them. But there they all were—Halston, Viva, Bianca, Baby Jane Holzer, Paul Morrissey, Liza. There seemed to be some jockeying for seating, which makes sense because it really was quite a show. It was Andy’s Interview magazine come to life—rock stars, movie stars, superstars, socialites, artists, and, of course, advertisers. That’s probably what made it so unforgettable for so many people who were there—so many worlds all gathered in one place, so Andy.
From the art scene, it wasn’t just his fellow pop artists who showed, but the whole contingent of eighties Young Turks, for whom he was the godfather—Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, Keith Haring, Julian Schnabel. It might have been one of the last times that they were all under one roof.
Basquiat died soon after of a drug overdose, as we know, but also of a broken heart—he missed Andy so much. And of course AIDS had really started to do its wipeout. Soon, Keith Haring died, and my date for the memorial and the after-party—lunch at a nearby club—was Robert Mapplethorpe. Robert really was pretty funny that day. I remember him saying to me, quite jealously, “Boy, if Andy had known he was going to shut down Fifth Avenue, he would be really impressed.”