Andy warhol

Albrecht Dürer was a 16th-century Andy Warhol

On 6 January 1506, Albrecht Dürer wrote from Venice to his friend Willibald Pirckheimer, who was at home in Nuremberg. The artist had already been in the city for a little while, and like many people who visit Venice he had spent a good deal of time shopping. Pirckheimer had asked him to buy some jewellery for him, ‘a few pearls and precious stones’, and the artist had been looking out for something suitable. There were, however, difficulties. For one thing, he says: ‘I can find nothing good enough or worth the money; everything is snapped up by the Germans.’ For another, Dürer complained, there were a lot of swindlers

A true bohemian: the story of Nico’s rise and fall

It is well established that artists are not always the nicest people. On the surface, the life of the model, actress and singer Christa Päffgen, aka Nico, would appear to bear this out. Being Nico didn’t mean being nice. The story of Nico’s rise and fall usually goes like this. She grew up in the rubble of post-war Berlin, emerging from adolescence as both stunningly beautiful and remorselessly ambitious. By the time she was 28 she had appeared on the cover of Vogue, starred in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita and sung with the Velvet Underground; she counted Alain Delon, Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison among her numerous conquests. She went

Part Beat, part hippy, part punk: the gay life of John Giorno

John Giorno, who died last year, was a natural acolyte: he needed a superior being to set him in motion. Part Beat, part hippy, part punk, he was a gay, sexually active poet who tells us that he loved to do it ‘endlessly’. He was therefore very popular among New York’s avant garde, many of whom were gay and passive: ‘I was young and beautiful and that got me what I wanted, and all I wanted was sex. I had all the money I needed; my parents gave me an allowance and paid my bills.’ Such boyish candour sets the tone of this memoir, which is a feast of exuberant

The wizard that was Warhol

In 1983 I was sent to New York to interview Johnny Rotten and I took the opportunity to call on Andy Warhol. The Factory was in the phonebook; and the receptionist, Brigid Berlin, said that Andy was in Milan but would be back the following afternoon. ‘You better give him half an hour. Why don’t you come over at 2.30 p.m.?’ So I did. I’d never been part of that New York scene, but wanted to meet someone who had helped me develop my own freedoms almost 20 years earlier. According to Blake Gopnik’s book, I should have found a studio that was triple-locked, with an anxious artist hiding inside.