Nobody really knew what Andy Warhol ate everyday—except for probably Paige Powell. His dietary preferences, and that of his closest circle, were documented by Powell, the former Interview publisher who also happened to intimately photograph the world of the Factory. From power lunches with Jean-Michel Basquiat to high-profile dinner parties alongside Debbie Harry, David Bowie and Madonna, she snapped Warhol in a way nobody else did, often in his most disarming moments.
All these photos and more are now part of a pastel-hued, book set called Paige Powell, published by Dashwood Books. The box features three titles; Beulah Land, snapshots from the 1980s, Animals, which includes random cats roaming around artist’s studios, and our favorite—Artists Eating. From 1981 to 1994, Powell photographed creative luminaries dining alongside Warhol as one of his closest confidants. Powell had access to a roster of that included everyone from Stephen Sprouse to Allan Ginsberg, who ate everything from seaweed to mashed potatoes.
Dinners are basically boardrooms for the art world, so Powell got to see some of the most pivotal moments in pop art over bottles of red wine, countless boxes of chocolate and caviar. Last night, Powell launched the book at the Gucci boutique on Wooster Street. Before Michael Stipe and Fran Lebowitz descended upon the space—which is now graced with a Warhol mural based on one of Powell’s photos, she sat down with Garage to give us the dish on dining out with celebrities.
The guest list: Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Dr. Barry Gingell
Where: The Odeon in Tribeca
The dish: “Andy and I were very close, but when I had a friend set me up with a Hollywood producer on a blind date, Andy came asked what I was doing tonight and I said I am going out with a Hollywood producer, he’s a mystery man, it’s a blind date. He invited himself to the dinner. When we got to, the table of two was expanded to a table for nine or 10. It was a blind date with a casting director wearing a Hawaiian shirt. We all had such a great time, so Andy decided we should start a blind date club. We had friends organize blind dates for each other, all business dates. One night, we couldn’t find someone to meet Andy for dinner, so we were knocking on street doors to find someone who would come to dinner. Then we found Dr. Barry. Andy liked talking to doctors but not going to them. Andy was interested in Barry but he had a boyfriend. Barry was eating crème brûlée when Andy was on a diet, he didn’t think it was healthy.”
The guest list: Debbie Harry with Stephen Sprouse and LaTasha Jordan
The dish: “LaTasha was 11-years-old here and won the Apollo Theatre amateur night, she was such a powerhouse. She lived in Harlem, Malcolm X used to live in her building, she sings backup with Patti LaBelle. I love photos like these because they show the lives of these artists who are seen in a different way, it’s about how they lived, they were my friends and family. I wasn’t an outsider or a voyeur, I was part of this bigger family. I was unaware of this culture at the time they were my friends, its only decades later that a new meaning was brought to them.”
The guest list: Andy Warhol and Paige Powell
The location: The Factory
The dish: “We were all the worst chocoholics, especially Andy, we ate so much chocolate. We would go to the Plaza Hotel and eat Swiss chocolate, then go see a movie and eat popcorn. We just always had boxes of chocolates out at the Factory. I am from Oregon, so when I moved here, I didn’t know many people and I got introduced to Andy’s friends and family through Interview and the Factory. I was a part time photojournalist for a Japanese magazine too, plus I was out all the time and met different people, it just sort of evolved like that in New York.”
The guest list: Art dealer and curator Jeffrey Deitch
The restaurant: La Closerie des Lilas in Paris
The dish: “I’m really good friends with Jeffrey Deitch, here we are at a dinner 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.”