NeueHouse presents Richard Bernstein’s ‘Interview’ Magazine covers

NeueHouse presents “The Interview Magazine Covers, 1972-1989: Richard Bernstein’s Portraits for Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine.” The exhibition spans the artist Richard Bernstein’s tenure creating covers for Andy Warhol’s influential cultural publication, “Interview,” and can be seen from March 26 through June 2, 2024, at NeueHouse Madison Square (110 E. 25th Street, New York).

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The artworks reflect the New York social and arts scene in the 1970s and 1980s, along with the celebrity culture of Studio 54 and Warhol’s larger circle of the time. The presentation additionally offers insight into a deeply fascinating technical process that, in just two weeks’ turnaround time for each cover, translated analog photography by famed photographers into the signature mixed-media portrait style (airbrush, gouache, pencil, and collage) that marked each of the 189 covers Bernstein made.

The exhibition will feature 24 portraits, 20 of which are original mixed media works, and four of which are limited-edition prints available for purchase: Stevie Wonder (1986), Mick Jagger (1985), Grace Jones (1984) and Fran Lebowitz (1981).

Regarding the process for each issue of the magazine, the “Interview” team would commission one of several well-known photographers of the time, and the photographer would produce silver gelatin prints to deliver to Bernstein to embellish and manipulate using collage, gouache, airbrush, and paint. Bernstein’s composition would then receive Warhol’s seal of approval before going to print.

“The cover subject was decided by Bob Colacello, art directed by Marc Balet, and photographed by the world’s most renowned photographers such as Greg Gorman, Matthew Rolston, Albert Watson, Peter Strongwater among others,” Rory Trifon, the President of the Estate of Richard Bernstein, explained. “Each photographer would provide Richard with a group of silver gelatin prints which Richard would then choose the best image and then crop, enlarge, and illustrate; airbrush, paint, and collage to achieve the final piece. The artwork would be approved by Andy and then it would go to print. Taken together, the overall collaborative covers are the final result from the greatest photographers, illustrated by Pop Art’s greatest illustrator, and approved by the Pope of Pop himself making them truly remarkable.”

Richard Bernstein, Grace Jones, October 1984. Giclée Fine Art print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag, archival paper. 20x30 in.
Richard Bernstein, Grace Jones, October 1984. Giclée Fine Art print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag, archival paper. 20×30 in. Edition of 150. Courtesy of the artist.

While Bernstein was perhaps best known for his “Interview” covers, he was a respected visual artist in his own right; his work has been exhibited at MoMA; the Met; the Victoria & Albert Museum; the National Portrait Gallery; and others. In fact, Andy Warhol first discovered Bernstein via a 1965 solo exhibition of his that garnered a positive review in “The Village Voice” that caught Warhol’s eye.

Paloma Picasso, the daughter of artist Pablo Picasso and artist Françoise Gilot, was Bernstein’s studio assistant from 1966 until 1968; she once said: “Bernstein puts wit into the beauties, fantasy into the rich, depth into the glamorous and adds instant patina to newcomers.”

Taken as a whole, the grouping of works represents a snapshot of pop culture that is as technically interesting as it is historically significant. It also brings attention to a lesser known yet highly influential figure of the era, Richard Bernstein, whose work has historically been mistaken for that of Andy Warhol himself due to the close association.

“Richard Bernstein’s faces are wonderful,” Warhol said. “They’re so colorful, and he makes everyone look so famous.”

“The Interview Magazine Covers, 1972-1989: Richard Bernstein’s Portraits for Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine” is a fresh examination of a perennial pop legend.

About Richard Bernstein

Richard Bernstein and Andy Warhol.
Richard Bernstein and Andy Warhol. Photographer Bobby Grossman.

Richard Bernstein (b. 1931, New York City) is most widely remembered today as the creator of the distinctive covers for Andy Warhol’s “Interview” magazine. Since the mid-60s, he was one of the pioneers and architects of Pop Art and one of the first artists to blur the line between commercial and fine art.

Bernstein’s technicolor work, whether on canvas shown in a gallery or a magazine cover at a newsstand, captured the glamor, extravagance, and innovation of the Pop Art era.

Bernstein’s storied career began in the early 1960s after earning a B.F.A. from Pratt Institute and an M.F.A. from Columbia University. After a successful debut solo exhibition in 1965, he was invited to a prestigious group show at the Byron Gallery alongside Andy Warhol, Sol Lewitt, and Robert Rauschenberg. After his success in New York, he continued to show new artworks at the legendary Iris Clert Gallery in Paris, which led to exhibitions throughout Europe, Japan, and NorthAmerica.

In 1968, Richard moved back to New York and into the Chelsea Hotel grand ballroom, which he converted into his art studio.

With his dynamic personality, movie star looks, and exceptional talent, Richard was central to the New York social scene that revolved around the Warhol Factory and Studio 54.

While working at Andy Warhol’s “Interview” magazine from 1972 until 1989, he developed an unmistakable style instantly recognizable as the “Bernstein Look.” His portraits helped to amplify the celebrity culture that characterized this dynamic period in New York’s history.

After his tenure at “Interview,” he remained active as an art director in the fashion and music industries while continuing to make his art. In 1990, Bernstein had been commissioned by the World Federation of United Nations Associations to create the first postal stamp for the new decade. This commission places him in the company of Warhol, Alexander Calder, and Picasso, who have been similarly honored.

About NeueHouse

NeueHouse (‘Home of the New’), is the private workspace and social home for creators, innovators and thought leaders to gather and connect. Through beautifully designed houses, thought-provoking cultural programming, and elevated hospitality, NeueHouse offers an unparalleled work experience that unlocks the potential of brands and innovators alike.

NeueHouse is home to a curated community of original thinkers at the intersection of culture and commerce, whose work is defining the fields of technology, design, media, the arts, entertainment, and more.

With locations in New York, Hollywood, and Venice Beach, NeueHouse is the preeminent place to create, collaborate and connect.

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