I never prepared or plotted any of this. I have, however, constantly followed my mother’s dictum: ‘When opportunity knocks, unlock!’ — Bob Colacello
It Just Happened, Photographs 1976-1982is an exhibit of photos by the American professional photographer and author Bob Colacello, documenting his long-standing partnership with Andy Warhol and the cycle of celebrations and travelling that animated their mad lives. Curated by Elena Foster and the Ivorypress group, the exhibit will include letters, publications and souvenirs together with the photos, which help bring to life the age’s sensation of hedonism and unlimited possibility. As Colacello composes in his intro to the exhibition brochure: ‘It simply happened that the 1970s was the most wide-open decade considering that the Roaring Twenties.’
Between 1971 and 1983, Colacello was the editor of Interview publication and Andy Warhol’s right hand. On one of his many trips with Warhol, Colacello acquired a Minox– a small video camera said to have been used by spies throughout the Cold War. From that minute on, he carried this pocket cam with him to numerous jet-set parties, suppers and wedding events kept in such emblematic settings as the Factory, Studio 54, and presidential inaugurations at the White House. In It Just Happened, Colacello shares photographs from his personal album taken between the late 1970s and early 1980s, offering an intimate and devoted chronicle of the fascinating social circle the so-called Pope of Pop.
Barbara Allen, Thomas Ammann, Joseph Beuys, Peter Beard, Willy Brandt, Bianca Jagger, Robert Mapplethorpe, Valentino Garavani, George Hamilton, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Cher, Truman Capote, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mick Jagger, Paul Morrissey, Paloma Picasso, Audrey Hepburn, Robert Wilson, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, Jean Pigozzi, Lord George Weidenfeld and Raquel Welch are simply a few of the icons that comprise the select cast in Colacello’s photographs. This body of work catches like no other both the personal privacy of locations where access to paparazzi was restricted and the sensation of liberty of the time.
In one of the photographs on view, the flash of Colacello’s electronic camera reflects into a mirror in Roy Halston’s New York townhouse, reverberating against Bianca Jagger, who is dressed in black velvet knotted around her chest, while a male hand extends into the frame from the left. The unclear composition blurs the lines between public and personal: is this a dressing space, or is the actress outside, being swarmed by paparazzi? In Other Places, Robert Rauschenberg is portrayed with his best arm out of shot as he shares the frame with a painting by Georgia O’Keeffe and a small Buddhist statuette. Warhol, meanwhile, is seen being in his hotel room eating breakfast in what Colacello acerbically refers to as Warhol’s ‘routine sleeping outfit– Brooks Brothers t-shirt, Jockey shorts and Supp-hose socks.’
These ‘stolen’ photos, with unanticipated frames and overexposed lighting, demonstrate Colacello’s defiant spirit and disregard for photography’s official conventions of proportion, direct exposure and balance. ‘It simply occurred that at the celebrations we were continuously going to in New York, Los Angeles, Paris and London, lesser-known individuals kept obstructing my view of better-known individuals, but I took the image anyway, since I understood celebrations were like that, producing a layered look that I came to view as my style.’ It is in this subversive mindset and irrepressible rhythm that lies the photographer’s contribution to his medium: the building of a new visual identity within the photojournalistic category of the 1970s and 1980s.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a book with the exact same title, released by Ivorypress. Developed as a photographic album, the publication provides Colacello’s photographs in sequential order, accompanied by captions handwritten by the professional photographer to explain and contextualise the images.
About the artist Bob Colacello( b. 1947
)was born in Brooklyn and raised in Long Island, New York. In 1969, he finished from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and 2 years later finished an MFA in Movie at Columbia University School of the Arts. He was the editor of Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine from 1971 to 1983. He then worked for Vanity Fair up until 2017, writing profiles and research short articles on cultural, social and political topics. His narrative Holy Horror: Andy Warhol Close Up(1990
)was well-known by The New York Times as the’ best-written and the most killingly observed ‘book on Andy Warhol’s inner circle. He has also released Ronnie and Nancy: Their Course to the White House (2004 ), the very first of a two-volume biography of the Reagans, and is currently dealing with the second. His photography book Bob Colacello’s OUT(2007 ), published by 7L/Steidl, documents the wild and glamorous life of the late 1970s and early 1980s. He has actually had solo exhibitions at Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida; Newport Art Museum, Rhode Island; Vito Schnabel Gallery, New
York and St. Moritz, Switzerland; Mary Boone Gallery, New York; Govinda Gallery, Washington D.C.; Steven Kasher Gallery, New York City and Ivorypress, Madrid. Colacello’s pictures have actually been consisted of in group exhibits at the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; MoMA PS1, New York; Tate Modern, London; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg; and Museu de Serralves, Portugal. Commissaires d’exposition: Elena Foster avec l’équipe d’Ivorypress Bob Colacello: It Simply Happened, Photographs 1976-1982 21 January– 4 March 2023 Opening Saturday January 21, 2023, 4 p.m.– 7 p.m. in the presence of the artist Thaddaeus Ropac
— Paris Marais 7, rue Debelleyme 75003 Paris, France www.ropac.net