[Image via glenn.obrien.com]
There are many tributes today for Glenn O'Brien, the writer, editor and downtown personality, who died at age 70 following an illness.
A dapper, instantly recognizable art world fixture with bright white hair and reliably impeccable jackets, O’Brien trained his dry, deadpan wit on art, music, and fashion as an editor and contributor for Rolling Stone, Oui, High Times, Allure, Esquire, and The New Yorker, among many other publications.
O’Brien was born in Cleveland. He spent his college years at Georgetown University, where he became friends with the art writer Bob Colacello. The pair went on to study film at Columbia University and become the editors of Interview in the early 1970s, when Andy Warhol was still publishing the magazine out of the Factory.
“They thought, ‘Let’s get some nice clean-cut college kids who aren’t amphetamine addicts and see if they can run the magazine,’ ” O’Brien told The New York Times in 2015.
In the 1980s, O’Brien effectively channeled the Factory for the Mudd Club crew with his public-access television show TV Party, a blend of live music, half-coherent interviews, zany skits, and idiosyncratic debauchery.
Per New York magazine:
O’Brien borrowed generously from the hipster affect of the Beats, but adapted that stance for the New Wave era. Zelig-like, he made an appearance, by his own account, as the underwear model on the Rolling Stones’ Warhol-designed Sticky Fingers album, helped mastermind the controversial CK Jeans ads denounced by Bill Clinton, and edited Madonna’s Sex book (not that many people were focused on the text). Even if you hadn’t read his work or seen his picture, you undoubtedly saw something he had created, and it shaped your consciousness in some way.
He lived nearby (Bond Street?) and in recent years invited cameras inside his home...