It’s up for debate but Paige Powell, who was the publisher of Interview magazine throughout the 1980s, always had a camera with her, taking photos of Andy Warhol’s social circle – and now, in her later years, is likely the only woman who had such unbarred access to the Factory. It was only recently that Powell, who dated Jean-Michel Basquiat and attended high-profile dinner parties alongside David Bowie and Madonna, opened her archives to the public. She now has a new book published by Dashwood Books and Gucci. It’s actually a box set featuring three titles; “Beulah Land,” snapshots from the 1980s, “Animals,” which features random cats roaming around artist’s studios in New York, and “Artists Eating,” which are photos taken at dinner parties between 1981 to 1994.
But seriously, aren’t dinners the boardrooms of the art world? She clinked glasses alongside artists like Brice Marden and Robert Mapplethorpe, Stephen Sprouse to Allan Ginsberg (who ate everything from seaweed to mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving dinners).
So, why have we not heard about Powell? Everyone who was involved with the Factory is practically in hyperbole by now. After her New York years passed, she moved back to Oregon and put all her photo negatives into a box, until now. “I wasn’t a documentarian; I just liked the process,” she says.
And the photos aren’t all of yesteryear, there are some of Jeffrey Deitch, too.
“I’m really good friends with Jeffrey Deitch,” said Powell, whose book includes a photo from a dinner they were at in Paris. “Jeffrey wrote the introduction to the book. It’s funny because most artists worked in all studios all day alone, the same with writers, I worked at Interview magazine but getting together at night at dinner was wonderful. It was a collection of people who just liked being together to socialize. A lot of business was made there, too. At these dinners, it happened like that. Since I was close with everyone, I was just carrying a camera. We were just living our lives.”
Text by Nadja Sayej
Images via paigepowellphotography.com