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Interview Magazine folds, but archive will live on at Pittsburgh's Andy Warhol Museum

| Thursday, May 24, 2018, 11:19 a.m.
A wall of 'Interview' magazine covers that was formerly on display at the Andy Warhol Museum on Pittsburgh's North Shore. Founded by Warhol in 1969, 'Interview' folded May 21, 2018 amid lawsuits from former employees.
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A wall of 'Interview' magazine covers that was formerly on display at the Andy Warhol Museum on Pittsburgh's North Shore. Founded by Warhol in 1969, 'Interview' folded May 21, 2018 amid lawsuits from former employees.

The bankruptcy and shutdown of Interview Magazine marks the end of one of Pittsburgh native Andy Warhol's legacies, but his North Shore museum retains a near-complete archive of the celebrity-focused publication that will continue to appear in exhibits.

Founded by Warhol in 1969, the magazine was most recently owned by billionaire Peter Brant but tottered under the weight of lawsuits from former employees and an eviction from its New York offices for nonpayment of rent, according to the New York Post . The publication filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and liquidation, closing up shop last Monday, the Post reported.

The Warhol has a large archive of the magazine's back issues. The archives range from its early days on fragile newsprint when it focused on film and word-for-word transcriptions of Warhol's interviews with celebrities, to its more recent, more glossy iteration that delved into literature, music and fashion, said Erin Byrne, archivist at the museum. Now, the magazine will live on only in those archives.

"We are one of the few institutions to have such a complete run of the magazine, so it is frequently used for research," she wrote in an email. "The magazine was highly influential during its time so it is not only consulted by scholars researching Warhol and his associates ... but also scholars of publishing, media, advertising, and fashion."

The Warhol's Interview archive goes up to 2014, when a large display on the museum's third floor was taken down as part of a museum-wide rearrangement, though Byrne said covers and back issues are still used in exhibits such as "Andy Warhol, Stars of the Silver Screen" and the timeline of Warhol's work on the museum's sixth floor. The archives also include photos, stationary, interview transcripts, correspondence and other materials used in the magazine's production.

"It is integral to the Warhol story and will be installed in future exhibitions and installations. Warhol's work in the medium of magazine is important to understanding much of his history and output," Byrne said.

He started collecting magazines depicting Hollywood stars in his early childhood in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood, and that interest showed when his first issue of Interview had "First Issue Collector's Edition" on the cover, Byrne said.

With Interview and the way he created it, Warhol continued his practices of taking underground or subversive ideas and commercializing them, she said. He'd use the magazine to entwine himself with the kind of celebrities he once admired in other publications' pages.

The New York Times called the magazine "a onetime bible of the fashion and publishing communities."

Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724 836 6660, or on Twitter @msantoni.

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