Glenn O’Brien NY Art Journalist And Style Guru Dies Age 70




Glenn O’Brien, the NY arts writer and style guru has died age 70. O’Brien chronicled New York City’s society and demimonde for over four decades. Cleveland, Ohio, born O’Brien studied journalism at Georgetown University, becoming the editor of the campus paper, the Georgetown Journal, which was founded by Conde Nast. He moved to NY to study film at Columbia and remained in the city meeting, Andy Warhol, which led him to become the editor of Interview Magazine.

“I feel like I have written for every magazine there is, but I haven’t” – Glen O’Brien

Following a three-year stint at Interview, he was made Rolling Stone’s New York bureau chief. He wrote a regular column for Artforum then moved to GQ; becoming CEO of Brant Publications which owned Interview as well as Art in America. He described himself as, “a writer, editor, copywriter and creative director. I have also worked as a grocery clerk, demolition man, steelworker, waiter, bartender, convention salesman, needlepoint painter, art director, stand-up comedian, and record producer. I’m a Pisces with Aquarius rising and a Cancer moon. I’m also a Fire Boar and right-handed.”

He has written about art throughout his career including monographs and catalog essays for many artists and exhibitions including Jean-Michel Basquiat (several,) John Baldessari, Beat Culture and the New America 1950-1965 (Whitney Museum,) The Warhol Look (Bullfinch,) Unseen Warhol (Rizzoli), Richard Prince (Whitney Museum 1992 and Guggenheim Museum 2007,) Christopher Wool (Taschen), Jeremy Blake, Keith Sonnier, Georg Herold, Tom Sachs, Jane Dickson, Stephen Ellis, James Nares, Alix Lambert, Roxanne Lowit, Mati Klarwein, Patrick Demarchelier, Edo Bertoglio, Ron Galella, Sante D’Orazio, Ricky Powell, Les Rogers, Jerry Schatzberg, Toland Grinnell and Jessica Craig-Martin.

In 1981, he wrote and produced the film “Downtown 81,” starring Jean-Michel Basquiat. The film fell victim to its backer’s financial woes and although I managed to resurrect and eventually release it. It premiered at Cannes Film Festival. Also in 1981, he was one of the founding editors of the art publication Bomb which recently celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary.

He wrote a column on advertising for Artforum from 1984-88 and worked as stand-up comic, opening for Buster Poindexter, from 1984-86. He was also one of the founders of Spin Magazine, working with the magazine from 1985 to 1988. He began as Editor-at-Large but after a while changed his title to Tri-State Editor. Some interpreted this as referring to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, but he intended it to mean sleep, wakefulness and intoxication.

After Andy Warhol’s death Interview magazine was sold to Brant Publications and he was offered the editorship there, but because of his position with Barneys he recommended another editor-in-chief and took the position of Interview’s Editor at Large, 1989-1990, producing numerous stunning issues.

He has written about art throughout his career including monographs and catalog essays for many artists and exhibitions including Jean-Michel Basquiat (several,) John Baldessari, Beat Culture and the New America 1950-1965 (Whitney Museum,) The Warhol Look (Bullfinch,) Unseen Warhol (Rizzoli), Richard Prince (Whitney Museum 1992 and Guggenheim Museum 2007,) Christopher Wool (Taschen), Jeremy Blake, Keith Sonnier, Georg Herold, Tom Sachs, Jane Dickson, Stephen Ellis, James Nares, Alix Lambert, Roxanne Lowit, Mati Klarwein, Patrick Demarchelier, Edo Bertoglio, Ron Galella, Sante D’Orazio, Ricky Powell, Les Rogers, Jerry Schatzberg, Toland Grinnell and Jessica Craig-Martin.

His death was confirmed by his wife, the publicist Gina Nanni, who said that “He had passed away in New York after a sudden onset of pneumonia exacerbated a longtime illness.”

Photo: Basquiat and O’Brien on TV Party. GLENNOBRIEN.COM

 

 


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