Meet Jed Johnson, the man who stole Andy Warhol’s heart

Prior to the release of Andrew Rossis’s acclaimed documentary series Andy Warhol’s Diaries, few people outside the world of interior design knew much about Jed Johnson or his relationship with Andy Warhol. Now, a few weeks since the show’s release, his name is on everyone’s lips. The native of Minnesota – who eventually became an interior designer with a client list of glittery jet-setters like Jerry Hall, Mick Jagger, Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent – moved to New York City in 1967 and was in Warhol’s orbit when he landed a job of sweeping floors at the Factory. Like many before him, Johnson quickly graduated from caretaker duties to the factory’s creative team. Warhol noticed Johnson’s eye for aesthetics and design, and he pressed him to edit Factory films, among others. Heat and Loveand to conduct Bad in 1977. During their many collaborations, an intimate and complicated relationship arose between the couple.

Despite years of friendship and cohabitation in Warhol’s townhouse on E. 66th Street, the couple’s relationship deteriorated, as Jed’s twin Jay notes in Diaries, because of Warhol’s discomfort with his own homosexuality and skepticism about long-term relationships – and of course because of the emergence of Study 54. After the infamous nightclub opened in 1977, Warhol’s taste for partying and for mischievous characters such as Victor Hugh, caused a rupture in his relationship with Johnson. The romance broke out, but friends and former Factory members were interviewed in Diaries consider the breach one of Warhol’s greatest regrets.

Jed Johnson

“Jed Johnson and Archie,” executed around 1975. Images lent by Christie’s.

Of the many images Andy Warhol captured of Johnson, few personify the artist’s devotion to his former lover, much like a pair of 1975 polaroids.he pictures, of Johnson snuggled up to Archie (Warhol’s short-haired dachshund), who squinted at the sun under a mop of brown hair, giving an insight into the intimate family life the couple shared in their time together. When Johnson died in the 1996 fatal TWA 800 crash on his way to Rome, Interviews The legendary editor-in-chief Ingrid Sischy remembered the life of her dear friend in the magazine’s winter issue of 1996. Read Sischy’s tribute to Johnson below.


“[Jed] Johnson, who died earlier this year on TWA Flight 800, has a very special place in the history of Interview. Before becoming an interior designer, he was a member of the “Interview Family” and was also both the director and editor of a number of Warhol’s legendary films. Recently, he and his partner, architect Alan Wazenberg, have created our offices, giving a sense of place and soul to our headquarters that everyone who visits notices. In general, the work of Johnson and Wazenberg stands out because it endows rooms with the most important architectural spirit. That spirit is very close to Johnson’s personal spirit. Like the work he did, Johnson was not flashy; instead, he was deep, modest, sensitive and skewed.

But most of all, he is like someone you could completely put your trust in, someone who would never let you down. Once, when I put my trust in him, he taught me so much about the experience of trusting someone that to this day I experience that it comes back to me again and again. I do not ski and I do not like heights, but a few Christmas days ago they did not raise their heads in Telluride, Colorado. It had driven my friends crazy that I had not seen the beautiful view that they had all enjoyed for about a week and I finally bent down and agreed to go up the mountain to join them one day (what any time to get them off my back). Jed and I had a date to go together; the second i got on the chairlift i was freaked out.

Someone else might have laughed, not Jed. He seemed to understand the fear in my head so deeply that it actually reassured me. Because I trusted him, I went through with something that scared me, and eventually allowed me to see the world from the top for a minute. I am thinking of this gift of his credibility as I write this letter. Trust is something that people apparently do not talk about these days, but it is crucial to almost every aspect of our lives, whether we are talking about our most intimate relationships or those that are as distant and far-reaching as the ones we have with us. the people who lead and control us. Trust in others has not exactly been the slogan of our time, but as Johnson showed me, it should be. ”

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