The Andy Warhol Diaries, Paperback Book

The Andy Warhol Diaries Paperback

Edited by Pat Hackett

2.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Andy Warhol kept these diaries faithfully from November 1976 right up to his final week, in February 1987.

Written at the height of his fame and success, Warhol records the fun of an Academy Awards party, nights out at Studio 54, trips between London, Paris and New York, and surprisingly even the money he spent each day, down to the cent.

With appearances from and references to everyone who was anyone, from Jim Morrison, Martina Navratilova and Calvin Klein to Shirley Bassey, Estee Lauder and Muhammad Ali, these diaries are the most glamorous, witty and revealing writings of the twentieth century.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 1216 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Art & design styles: Pop art
  • ISBN: 9780141193076



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Pat Hackett was Andy Warhol’s secretary for more than 20 years. Although she describes herself as his secretary, their cooperation was much closer than that professional label suggests. Warhol and Hackett co-authored two books. In case of The Andy Warhol Diaries, Hackett is presented as the editor. On the other hand, the two-line biographical note in the Penguin Modern Classics edition lists her serving as his diarist.The Andy Warhol Diaries is preceded by a 25-pages foreword, written by Pat Hackett, explaining how the diaries were written, and how they should be read. According to Hackett, the diaries should be read cover-to-cover, to be read as a whole, without skipping. That is quite a bold statement for a book which counts 1123 pages, and is, in fact, rather boring. She does not tell the reader exactly why it should be read that way, but it suggests, covertly, that the work should be seen as a Gesamt Kunstwerk, something that only works as a whole, not in parts.Diaries are usually published after the author’s death. If published during their life time, diaries are either considered to provide key information on a particular period or were conceived in a particular way by their authors to describe (part of) life as the author (intentionally) wants to share with their readers. A diary is usually written by the author him- / herself, and usually provides intimate, personal descriptions of their life, work and reflections. Readers of diaries are usually motivated to read through hundreds or thousands of pages, hoping to find a representation of the historical life time of the author, and become closely acquainted with their lives and ideas.Andy Warhol is the author of these diaries, but he did not write them. This is not so unusual as it seems; for hundreds of years there have been writers who dictated a scribe to do the actual writing, and in modern times, authors are known to have recorded their journal entries with a tape recorder. Warhol telephoned Hackett every day, and she recorded what was discussed. How this was done is not explained, which is an important omission. The reader is told that the morning call consisted of a “warm up” – a free talking, which they considered not part of the diary, followed by one or two hours of “doing the diary.” Beside the ‘Diary calls’, Hackett and Warhol worked closely together, and many parts of those conversations are added to the Diary. It is not clear whether Hackett recorded and subsequently transcribed everything, or typed while they were on the phone or made notes. The foreword does tell us that these 1123 pages represent only about 10% of the total material, which is estimated at 20,000 pages. In any case, the journal entries must have been edited at some stage, because they consist of full, complete and grammatical sentences, clearly not merely a transscript.Hackett tells us that this selection presents the reader with the best and most representative part. She claims that although in some cases entries for days or whole weeks were omitted, the cutting entailed most often, just parts of days, citing as an example that if Andy went to five parties on a day, only one is reported. How and when such decisions were made is not explained, or mentioned in a byline. For example, the two weeks during which Truman Capote’s death occurred are missing, apparently because Hackett was away for other work between August 22 and September 11, 1984.Reading the diaries it also becomes clear that a lot of information that the reader might look for is missing. Actually, Andy Warhol is missing, most of the time. The diaries are not a particularly intimate or personal record. They are much more like a log book. It is explained that the diary started as a log to register expenses, which could be used to satisfy the Tax Office. The Diary / Log was preceded by Lists of names of famous people Warhol met or visited. For the most part, these Diaries report where he went, whom he met (there) and how much the taxi + meal cost, etc. Really rather boring.The Andy Warhol Diaries span the period from November 1977, till his death in February 1987. Artistically, this was a relatively uninteresting period in Warhol’s life, as most of the work he is famous for took place in the period before that. The Diaries are more about “work”, and less about his “life”. His private life is specifically kept out of the Diary. On the few occasions where Warhol is overcome by emotion, he refuses to report to Hackett telling her that the Diary can write itself. The Diary calls were only made on Monday through Friday, but the weekends were reported on the following Monday.There is some travel, mostly to Paris and Zurich, and a trip to China (Oct. 27, 1982 Hong Kong, Nov. 1-4 Beijing, and Nov. 4-6 Hong Kong). Most is reported about ongoing work on paintings, books and Interview. It is advisable to read the introduction first, as a number of relations are explained, as well as the expression gluing myself.However, some of Warhol’s life does seep through. Firstly, we learn that “apart from his work”, he leads a very regular, perhaps even boring life. He hangs out with all these groovy people, and is dazzled by gay life and discos, but invariably goes home alone. The Diary never reports sex or infatuation. There does not seem to be a partner. There is only the merest suggestion that he was fond of Jon (Gould), until Gould’s death is reported on Sept. 21, 1986, news which I don’t want to talk about., adding And the Diary can write itself on the other news from L.A. The news is included in (the only) Note added by Hackett on this page (p. 1057).The Diary only once reports that Andy felt depressed and cried (April 19, 1981), because he feels he is getting old. Warhol regularly goes to church. He reads very little, or it is only reported in relation to his work, for example some pulp fiction on a plane, or authors who are featured in Interview. Lots of famous people pop in and out of the picture, and there is a lot of names dropping. Victor Bockris appears regularly, which lends him more credibility as Warhol’s biographer. Mostly absent is Michael Jackson. In the early Eighties Warhol makes the emergence of AIDS (first referred to as “gay cancer) very palpable, capturing the fear that surrounded it originally: I didn’t invite Robert Hayes to ride up with me because he was with his sister and his boyfriend Cisco, and Cisco has AIDS so I didn’t want to be that close to him. (Feb 11, 1983).It can probably be argued that The Andy Warhol Diaries fits Warhol’s philosophy and other art work, in that it exemplifies the ordinary.

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