INTO: Andy Warhol’s Surreal 15 Minutes
“Into” is a series dedicated to objects, artworks, garments, exhibitions, and all kinds of things that we are into—and there really isn’t a lot more to it than that. Today: Ernest Macias revisits Andy Warhol’s wild, surreal, and wildly glamorous ’80s MTV talk show: Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes.
As time goes by ever so slowly, I’ve found myself exploring rabbit holes new and old. After endless hours spent scrolling and LOL-ing to Tik Tok, devouring Bravo’s vintage reality TV marathons (wink, wink Gallery Girls), and my daily, almost required 3AM conspiracy theory YouTube spiral, the endless stream of content has merged into a not-so-cute blob of images, sounds, and unanswered COVID-19 questions. Then along came Andy Warhol‘s MTV talk show, Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes, described as “an American talk show hosted by Andy Warhol that aired on MTV from 1985 to 1987.” But as is the case with most Warhol–related things—his art, his friendships, this magazine—nothing is really as it seems.
When I first stumbled upon the promo for the show on YouTube, which invited me to “take a ride downtown,” two things happened: 1) I questioned why no one had ever told me about this show, and 2) I laughed. Of course Andy Warhol had a talk show. If anyone knows anything about Warhol, besides his connection to Campbell’s soup, it’s his obsession with an obsession. So a talk show aired on television, one can imagine, served as the ideal canvas for the artist to parade the collections he’d amassed throughout his life. The result is a television experience that is widely eclectic, electric, and erratic. Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes is a show that lands somewhere in between a daily vlog fused with Wendy Williams’s Hot Topics and Sesame Street. The show is an homage to the glamorous world the artist built, where he engaged in exhilarating discourse on fashion, politics, and nightlife with his closest friends and favorite downtown weirdos—Grace Jones, Debbie Harry, Keith Haring, and many of the hunks the artist crushed on.
Warhol was always ahead of his time, from the use of repetition in his art to his seemingly vapid obsession with celebrity, and his unabashed need to create utopias for the people running from something, anything really, in search of themselves. That this show appeared in my life during a time when the world is falling apart and the search for creative bursts is at an all-time high does not escape me. It is a well-known fact, and common belief among creators, that when life gets rough, it’s time to create. Watching Warhol’s briefly lived talk show—it only aired from 1985 to 1987, because good things don’t last—has sparked in me a sense of hope and defiance that hasn’t been present in my soul or physical body ever since New York stopped feeling like New York. So come along, “take a ride to the wild side,” and enter the world of Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes.