Blogger Examines History of Warhol’s Most Famous Quote

Per a Warholiana blog post by Blake Gopnik, the stateside popularization of Andy Warhol’s “In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes” pronouncement went like this: Time magazine in 1967; the Museum of Modern Art in 1970; The New York Times and the Boston Globe in 1971; the Los Angeles Times in 1973; and many outlets in 1974, in connection with a young woman’s suicide.

But what if Warhol in fact never came up with this famous saying? Gopnik seems to think that’s the case, although he is unable to provide conclusive, undeniable proof:

By the late 1970s, Warhol himself was mentioning the line (not always clearly as his) at various times and in various places and in various weird versions, even saying that he’s grown bored with it. But that doesn’t tell us much about whether he came up with it in the first place: Warhol, the world’s greatest sponge, would hardly have proclaimed that he hadn’t coined his trademark aphorism. Warhol’s art and persona were all about the rewards of his sponging.

This should all add up to some interesting new content for Gopnik’s forthcoming biography of Warhol, for HarperCollins. The writer also recently wrote in The New York Times about the experience of watching Warhol’s Empire.

Photo of wax version of Warhol at New York’s Madame Tussaud’s: JStone/

Recommended articles