ANDY WARHOL'S INTERVIEW: Best of the First Decade, 1969–1979

David Bowie, Author, Elton John, Author, Bruce Weber, Author . Steidl Publishing/Edition $475 (996p) ISBN 978-3-86521-023-4

Andy Warhol's Interview magazine celebrates its 35th anniversary with this spectacular seven-volume retrospective of its first decade. It's a massive, definitive reference that cuts a wide swath through '70s pop culture with vibrant and energetic interviews and photos. It also has the visceral impact of an objet d'art (the books are housed in a Karl Lagerfeld–designed crate with wheels and a retractable handle). The selected interviews and photos from the first decade have not been reset or resized; each 12"×15" volume offers exact reprints of the magazine's original pages (including spelling errors and original ads).

Each volume is a treasure trove of sparkling, uninhibited and entertaining chats with icons on the rise (Bette Midler, Jack Nicholson, Lily Tomlin), underground favorites (John Waters, Holly Woodlawn, Mary Woronov), living legends (Bette Davis, Butterfly McQueen, Gloria Swanson) and those who defined the '70s (Rona Barrett, Halston, Calvin Klein). The Covers (which runs 160 pages) reproduces every cover from Interview 's first decade in full color. The Pictures (276 pages) features photo shoots by Robert Mapplethorpe, Herb Ritts, Bruce Weber, Francesco Scavullo and others. The Interviews (348 pages) offers 123 profiles, including ones of Muhammad Ali, the Andrews Sisters, Gore Vidal, the Talking Heads and Tennessee Williams. The Andy Warhol Interviews (320 pages) are 77 interviews conducted by Warhol, with such personalities as John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Sophia Loren, and Michael Jackson. The Fashion (172 pages) chats with designers like Versace, Edith Head and Yves Saint Laurent. The Directors (148 pages) includes portraits of 45 directors ranging from Cukor, Hitchcock and Capra to the younger generation of Wertmuller, Spielberg and Altman. The final volume is The Back of the Book , a slim (64 pages) collection of Fran Lebowitz's "I Cover the Waterfront" columns.

What makes Interview 's conversations unique is their free-for-all spirit. Warhol brought friends to interviews and taped the marathon session. Transcripts include interruptions for ordering food and drop-by celebrity appearances. Sometimes even the interviewers shine: a star-struck Angelica Huston interviews Mae West; 12-year-old Tatum O'Neal visits Seventh Avenue designers; and Anthony Perkins meets his future wife, Berry Berenson, when she interviews him. The vastness of this undertaking is matched by the pleasures found on every page. (Dec.)

FYI: The collectible set (2,000 copies are being printed) also includes a copy of Interview's 35th anniversary issue and a reproduction of the premiere issue.

Reviewed on: 12/13/2004
Release date: 10/01/2008
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!