Andy Warhol’s Index: The 1967 Pop-up Book for Hipsters
American pop artist Andy Warhol‘s glory days were the 1960s. Warhol was firmly ensconced in the New York art scene and had a decade of exhibitions and acclaim under his belt. Art-wise, he had already worked his way from shoe advertisements and silkscreened record album covers up to what he became best-known for: the iconic, colorful exaggeration of Americana. From Campbell’s soup cans to Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe to mushroom clouds, Warhol blew up everything on Americans minds, in technicolor. But he didn’t draw the creative line at painting – Warhol experimented with sound, film and more, including the written word.
Perhaps the most interesting Warhol book I keep running across on the site is much more than a book – it’s a novelty item and activity center, a pop-up book meets scrapbook meets photography exhibit. It’s hard to define, is what it is. Andy Warhol’s Index was published in 1967 by Random House. In it, one can find photographs, quotations, bits of art here and there, and myriad things to interact with (think “Pat the Bunny” for adults). It contained pop-ups, fold outs, a 45 rpm record, a balloon, a geographic shape attached to a string and more. They were printed in a limited run of and each copy is numbered. At only 74 pages, the slim volume is hardly your typical enormous coffee table book, but it boasts unbeatable value as a piece of 1960s New York pop memorabilia.
Collectors would be delighted with it for the photographs alone, but there’s much more in store. There are a surprising number of copies available on AbeBooks, at varying price points depending upon condition (apparently, it is almost universal that the accordion no longer squeaks – as well that the balloon has deteriorated over 46 years and stuck two of the book’s pages together; a copy with an intact balloon is exceedingly rare).
From Vince Aletti’s Book of 101 Books, The: Seminal Photographic Books of the Twentieth Century: “One of the earliest and most thoroughly documented [books] of the Factory’s crews is memorialized in [this book], the artist’s first publication to use photography and text after an earlier series of privately printed illustrated books. A disjointed and playful pastiche, Index (Book) has the impromptu feel of a project thrown together as a lark. Most of its pages are filed with high-contrast, snapshot-style black-and-white photographs taken by . Billy Name.As if to puncture this glam bubble, Index (Book) is also filled with an ingratiating array of gimmicks. Among them: a pop-up illustration of a castle under attack (with photos of Warhol & Co. collaged into its windows), a red pleated accordion tucked into a gatefold, another gatefold with Andy’s nose in profile sliced into a series of colored flaps, a balloon, a Velvets record, a Chelsea Girls ad on a spring, and a Hunt’s tomato past can that pops up between two head shots of International Velvet.”