“The great Glenn O’Brien just left us I’m sad to say.
Part of the forest is cleared, never to see another like him, absence, farewell, mercy, a loss reverberates in the art firmament.
With him a temple of flying buttresses has ripened and faded into air, taking history with him.
A density of life, lightness of being, virtuoso of style, a wearer of the mask of Warhol who could speak ascertainable truth in this master mask. This cosmic sun that shined astringent, phosphorescence … farewell.
I loved you from afar, not made of the same mat of clouds, noisy leaves, epitaphs and night-winds. You have nothing left to burn; benediction, wit, toasts, holding the chandelier in the cantinas of the art world.
There are things I could say.” –art critic, Jerry Saltz
“He was committed to keeping alive the Warholian spirit of New York as a fast, dynamic, and infinitely possible place. He was one of the last real New Yorkers in that way: a hustler dressed to the tens like a one-man Rat Pack, a street poet with a million dollar art collection, a philosopher king at the front row of a fashion show. I think he believed in the dream of a young, street-wise New York in his mid-sixties more than I did in my early thirties.
Glenn was so good he could be bad and get away with it—like he was flirting with you as well as hearing your confession. (Years later, when I had to interview Kate Moss for the magazine, her agent responded to my performance with, “You did okay, but you’re no Glenn O’Brien,” to which I wanted to shout, “No, I’m not, there is no other Glenn!”) Glenn demanded a lot from our staff for the new iteration of Interview because the magazine meant so much to him—in a way he was returning to his first battlefield, the hallowed publication that put him on the map. Being true to the legacy of Andy Warhol was also vital; Glenn hung a photo of Warhol in his office, and a year later, when egos got in the way and everything turned sideways, Glenn stormed out of his office for the last time with that photo of Warhol under his arm, a symbolic, Elvis-has-left-the-building goodbye).” –writer, Christopher Bollen, New York magazine
“My years at Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine as its Executive Editor conflated with a few of his when he was writing his Glenn O”Brien’s Beat column He was a real cultural presence in New York. Deeply stylish. I was a bit intimidated by him even though he was always nice to me. The way he carved out his career in the New York media world on his own terms was always an inspiration to me.
Glenn was the first editor of Interview from 1971 to 1974. After his departure, he continued to write for the magazine and returned as editor several times, with a nearly 20-year association with the title. He was a music critic for the publication in the punk era. He later wrote The Style Guy column for GQ, was Editorial Director of Brant Publications, hosted the access cable show TV Party, is credited with inventing the term “editor-at-large,” was Creative Director of advertising at Barney’s, edited Madonna’s Sex book, wrote several other books, was an early champion and collector of Jean-Michel Basquiat among other artists, and wrote a column for ten years for ArtForum.” –writer, Kevin Sessums
“Heartbreak. Glenn O’Brien died this morning.
He was the editor of Andy Warhol’s Interview when I met him in 1972– young , handsome, with the features of a medieval knight, all wit , knowledge , erudition and a sly , skeptical take on the world . He never behaved with anything less than the honor , dignity , panache and courage of a knight through the years that followed.” –writer, Joan Juliet Buck
“No much time left for those of us remaining from the old scene. Goodbye Glenn. You were the wittiest and smartest cookie in the Downtown jar (like one Warhol enjoyed collecting perhaps?) It was an honor and extreme pleasure to call you a friend. I am so glad we took the bullet train to Kyoto together back in 1985 (when we were both in Tokyo doing Kiri Teshigahara’s And Steven Pollock’s Art in Action show.) An unforgettable week in Japan. See you in that great majestic golden temple in the mist.” –performance artist, musician, Ann Magnuson
“To celebrate Andy Warhol’s 80th birthday, Glenn commissioned me to photograph Andy’s personal effects from and items from the “Time Capsules” at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh when he edited Interview. He almost put on one of the many of Andy’s wigs, but found them too creepy, so he put on a pair of Andy’s glasses instead.” –photographer, Todd Eberle The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, April, 2008
We’ll let him have the last word. Glenn’s last Instagram post, @lordrochester, 6 weeks ago…
“Andy Warhol died 30 years ago today. I remember thinking “who’s opinion will I care about now?” and I still don’t know. I hope to become more like like him every day. He was and always will be my (dear) boss.” –Glenn O’Brien
Well, they are having some TV party somewhere tonight.