Glenn O'Brien

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Glenn O'Brien
O'Brien in 2015
O'Brien in 2015
BornMarch 2, 1947
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
DiedApril 7, 2017 (aged 70)
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
Alma materGeorgetown University and Columbia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Notable awardsnamed one of Top 10 Most Stylish Men in America by GQ Magazine
SpouseGina Nanni (until his death)

Glenn O'Brien (March 2, 1947 – April 7, 2017) was an American writer who focused largely on the subjects of art, music, and fashion. He was featured for many years as "The Style Guy" in GQ magazine and published a book with that title. He worked as an editor at a number of publications, and published the arts and literature magazine Bald Ego from 2003 to 2005.

Life and career[edit]

O'Brien was born in Cleveland, Ohio, where he attended the Jesuit St. Ignatius High School. O'Brien went to Georgetown University and edited the Georgetown Journal, which was founded by Condé Nast.[1] O'Brien later studied film at the Columbia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.[2]

In his early career, O'Brien was a member of Andy Warhol's Factory. He was the first editor of Interview from 1971 to 1974.[3] After his departure, he continued to write for the magazine and returned as editor several times, with a nearly 20-year association with the title. He was a music critic for the publication in the punk era for which he penned the influential column "Glenn O'Brien's Beat".[4]

In the late 1970s, O'Brien had a band called Konelrad, which he described as a "socialist-realist rock band."[5]

From 1978 to 1982, O'Brien hosted a New York city Public-access television cable TV show called TV Party.[6][7][8] During this period, O'Brien edited several iconic downtown novels, including Kathy Acker's Blood and Guts in High School[9] and The Correct Sadist by Terence Sellers.[10]

In 1980, he wrote the screenplay (which he also co-produced with Patrick Montgomery) for a film to be called New York Beat, starring Jean-Michel Basquiat[11] It was released in 2000 as Downtown 81, with post-production managed by O'Brien and Maripol.[12]

In June 1980, O'Brien's article "Graffiti '80: The State of the Outlaw Art" was published in High Times magazine. It was the first major survey of the burgeoning graffiti art scene, which featured Basquiat, Fab 5 Freddy and Lee Quiñones.[13]

After leaving TV Party, in addition to continuing his writing career, he attempted a stint as a stand-up comedian, and was a contributing editor of Allure, Harper's Bazaar, and Creative Director of advertising at Barneys New York.[14] For 10 years, he wrote a monthly column for Artforum magazine. O'Brien edited Madonna's 1992 Sex book.[14] He had been introduced to Madonna a decade prior through her relationship with Basquiat.[15] He also worked with her on The Girlie Show World Tour book in 1993.[16]

In January 2008, he was named editorial director of Brant Publications, which includes Interview Magazine as well as Art in America and Antiques.[17] In June 2009 it was announced that he had left his position with Brant Publications.[3]

He lent his collection of early Basquiat works to various exhibitions, including Deitch Projects,[18] and is a co-author of a major volume on the artist.[19]

O'Brien died of complications from pneumonia in Manhattan on April 7, 2017, at the age of 70.[14][20] Madonna called O'Brien "an amazing soul and a creative genius" in a statement on Twitter.[21]

Awards and honors[edit]

On February 17, 2009, O'Brien was named one of Top 10 Most Stylish Men in America by GQ.[22]

Published works[edit]

  • New York Beat: Jean-Michael Basquiat Downtown 81. Tokyo: Petit Grand. December 1, 2001. ISBN 978-4-93910222-6.. Edo Bertoglio (photographer).
  • Patrick Demarchelier (Photograph); Glenn O'Brien (October 20, 1995). Patrick Demarchelier: Photographs. Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0-821221693.
  • The Style Guy. Ballantine Books. 2000. ISBN 9780345427274. ISBN 0345427270[23]
  • Roxanne Lowit; Glenn O'Brien (January 28, 2005). People. Assouline. ISBN 978-2-843232862.
  • Glenn O'Brien, ed. (September 25, 2005). Sante D'Orazio: Pam: American Icon. Jeff Koons and Richard Prince. Prestel Publishing. ISBN 9783829601870.
  • Glenn O'Brien (November 30, 2010). Jean-Michel Basquiat. Jean-Louis Prat and Susanne Reichling. Hatje Cantz Verlag GmbH & Co KG. ISBN 978-3-775725934.
  • How To Be a Man: A Guide To Style and Behavior For The Modern Gentleman. Rizzoli. 2011. ISBN 978-0847835478.[24]
  • Glenn O'Brien, ed. (2013). The Cool School: Writing From America's Hip Underground. Library of America. ISBN 978-1-598532562.[25]
  • Dash Snow (Artist) (July 31, 2013). Glenn O'Brien (ed.). Dash Snow: I Love You, Stupid. Mary Hansen. D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers. ISBN 9781938922145.
  • Inez van Lamsweerde/Vinoodh Matadin. Pretty Much Everything. M/M (design). Taschen America, LLC. November 15, 2013. ISBN 9783836527934.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  • Glenn O'Brien, ed. (November 30, 2013). Eddie Martinez: Paintings. Ross Simonini; Monica Ramirez-Montagut. PictureBox. ISBN 9781939799067.
  • Mark Grotjahn: Masks. Dakin Hart. Rizzoli. October 27, 2015. ISBN 9780847844074.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  • Open English Bible. July 9, 2016. ISBN 9781326731960.
  • Berluti: At Their Feet. Mathias Augustyniask (illustrator); Erwan Frotin (Photographer); M/M (Paris) (design). Rizzoli. 2016. ISBN 978-0847849178.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)[26]
  • HENNESSY, A toast to the world's preeminent spirit. Jean-Philippe Delhomme (illustrator). Rizzoli. February 14, 2017. ISBN 978-0-847847525.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)[27]
  • Like Art: Glenn O'Brien on Advertising. Karma, New York. May 23, 2017. ISBN 9781942607489.
  • Chris Martin. Dan Nadel; Nancy Princenthal; Trinie Dalton. Rizzoli. November 28, 2017. ISBN 9788857234748.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)


  1. ^ Kreps, Daniel, "Glenn O'Brien, Writer and Punk Renaissance Man, Dead at 70" Archived November 23, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, Rolling Stone, April 7, 2017.
  2. ^ "". Archived from the original on February 15, 2019. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Williams, Alex (April 7, 2017). "Glenn O'Brien, Writer and Editor Who Gained Fame With Warhol, Dies at 70". The New York Times. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
  4. ^ "The Greatest Hits from the Legendary Closet of the Style Guy, Glenn O'Brien". GQ. April 8, 2017. Retrieved April 9, 2017. With link to Welch, Will, "Rest In Peace: One Last Riff with Glenn O’Brien, the King of New York Cool", GQ, April 8, 2017.
  5. ^ "Glenn O'Brien (1947–2017)". Artforum. April 7, 2017. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  6. ^ Boch, Richard (2017). The Mudd Club. Port Townsend, WA: Feral House. pp. 246–247. ISBN 978-1-62731-051-2. OCLC 972429558.
  7. ^ "TV Party". Archived from the original on May 10, 2009. Retrieved May 1, 2009.
  8. ^ Curley, Mallory, A Cookie Mueller Encyclopedia (Randy Press, 2010), p. 352.
  9. ^ [1] Archived April 2, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, interview with Kathy Acker, p. 28.
  10. ^ [2] Glenn O'Brien on Twitter
  11. ^ New York Beat Movie (1981),
  12. ^ Lockwood, Lisa (April 8, 2017). "Glenn O'Brien, who once wrote GQ's Style Guy column, dies at 70". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
  13. ^ O'Brien, Glenn (June 1980). "Graffiti '80: The State of the Outlaw Art". High Times: 53–54.
  14. ^ a b c Strauss, Matthew (April 7, 2017). "Glenn O'Brien, Writer and "TV Party" Host, Dead at 70". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  15. ^ "Interview with Glenn O'Brien – also starring Madonna, Basquiat, Viva and Warhol". Flux magazine. November 26, 2013. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  16. ^ Hoskyns, Barney (August 4, 2003). The Sound and the Fury: 40 Years of Classic Rock Journalism: A Rock's Backpages Reader. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-58234-282-5.
  17. ^ Anthony Haden-Guest Interviews Glenn O’Brien, the New Editor of Andy Warhol’s Legendary Interview Magazine.[dead link] Saatchi Online.
  18. ^ "Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1981: The Studio of the Street" Archived November 6, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, Deitch Projects, NY, May 2006.
  19. ^ Deitch J, Cortez D, and O’Brien, G. Jean-Michel Basquiat 1981: the Studio of the Street, Milan: Charta, 2007.
  20. ^ "Writer, Warhol associate and TV Party host Glenn O'Brien dies aged 70". The Guardian. April 7, 2017. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  21. ^ @Madonna (April 7, 2017). "Say Good-bye to an Amazing Soul and a Creative Genius! 💘 God Bless You Glenn O'Brien. 🙏🏻" (Tweet). Retrieved April 7, 2017 – via Twitter.
  22. ^ "The 10 Most Stylish Men in America". New York Daily News. February 17, 2009. Retrieved February 17, 2009.
  23. ^ The Style Guy
  24. ^ How To Be a Man
  25. ^ "The Cool School"
  26. ^ Berluti: At Their Feet
  27. ^ A toast to the world's preeminent spirit

External links[edit]