"Dictatorship at the Door, Democracy on the Floor": That's how Andy Warhol famously described Studio 54. Thanks to his obsessive tendency to document the ins and outs of his life and inner circle, we can see who was there, and feel almost a part of it.
"Dictatorship at the Door, Democracy on the Floor": That's how Andy Warhol famously described Studio 54, the New York City nightclub that sparked a hedonistic disco frenzy in the late 1970s. Founded by Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, Studio 54 was the "it" spot of the era, attracting everyone from Diana Ross, Farrah Fawcett, Grace Jones, Jack Nicholson, Cher, Diane von Furstenberg, Madonna, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Calvin Klein, Bianca Jagger, and, of course, Andy Warhol.
Brigid Berlin, one of Andy's Superstars, recalls that "The place did have a feeling of family. It was like going to another Factory, because you’d see everyone from the office ... every night, all night." Indeed, from the vantage of Warhol's photographs, Studio 54 looks less like the lavish, cocaine-emblazoned Gomorrah it's made out to be (though certainly it was that, too) than an intimate evening among friends; in Warhol's case, those friends just happened to be legendary artists, musicians, socialites, and movie stars.
Berlin describes a typical scene: "Andy would be ensconced on a couch with Bianca and Halston. If you missed a night, Andy would say, ‘You missed the best night.’ And if he hadn’t been there, he’d be on the phone the first thing in the morning, wanting to know who was there.” Thanks to Warhol's obsessive tendency to document the ins and outs of his life and inner circle and the resulting photographs detailing everything from the grandiose down to the mundane, we can see who was there, and feel almost a part of it.