One of the most intriguing aspects about a diary or personal writings is that they give people an intimate look at the writer long after that writer is gone. Some people fully intend to have their personal journals read after their death, while others really give no thought of it and simply write down their innermost feelings on a whim, only to have them compiled into a diary after they’ve passed on.
Such is the case with one of the most famous artists of recent memory, Andy Warhol. In fact, most of the famous Andy Warhol diaries weren’t even penned by the man himself, but rather his personal secretary, Pat Hackett, who jotted down Andy’s words verbatim via phone conversations and then typed them.
Andy Warhol was one of the most famous American artists ever, especially in the range of pop art. He was born in 1928 and died in 1987 at 58 years of age. Living a lifestyle that was considered unhealthy and surviving a gunshot wound, Warhol died in his sleep from a cardiac arrhythmia following gallbladder surgery.
From the moment Andy first made his splash in pop art, his works were sought after by nearly everyone, from corporations to private collectors. Warhol excelled in printing, painting, photography and other artist fields, and while many from the outside looking in found him to be strange, those closest to him suggest a genius intellect and a misunderstood man. His posthumous diaries paint a rather intimate portrait of the man and his thoughts.
Pat Hackett was constantly busy with jotting down notes and typing pages of text from Andy Warhol. The book covers an 11-year period, from November 24, 1976, until February 17, 1987, just mere days before Warhol died. All told, Pat Hackett had compiled more than 20,000 pages of Andy’s thoughts and ranting. The book, The Andy Warhol Diaries, is a much shorter version, condensed down to 807 pages – which is still quite a lengthy novel.
Since its release, Warhol’s diaries have been viewed by many as just vindictive rants and chatterbox gossip for the elite, a sort of tabloid-like approach to conversation. And while Andy pulled no punches in stating his feelings about other celebrities, personalities and the elites that crossed his tongue, the book also does manage to shed some light on the man personally.
Of course, since it’s not a diary in the true sense of the word, others criticize the book because it has been edited, and the story is narrated by Hackett rather than actually being told by Andy himself. But the fact of the matter is that Warhol did not record his personal thoughts himself. Though he knew he was being recorded, the diary entries do not delve into childhood memories or anything overly deep and moving about the man’s life.
Even still, The Andy Warhol Diaries is a very intriguing book. It’s a piece of himself that Andy Warhol left behind, even if it is told through the eyes of Hackett.
If Warhol’s diaries offer anything at all, it’s brutal honesty. It’s how he felt about people and the world and even about himself and his celebrity. For fans of Warhol, the book is certainly what one might expect from such an eccentric character.