The dandy Bob Colacello unearths the New York jet-set of the seventies

The dandy Bob Colacello unearths the New York jet-set of the seventies

Bob Colacello, at the Thaddaeus Ropac gallery, in Paris, on January 20, 2023.

Sharp gaze, dazzling smile, Paloma Picasso eyes the lens. Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall, then in love, shine with their superb. Like Bianca Jagger, the raven-eyed ex. The Thaddaeus Ropac gallery, in Paris, parades the jet-set of the 1970s: actor Richard Gere, artist Robert Rauschenberg, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe… And above all Andy Warhol, imperturbable in any situation.

In eighty snapshots dated from 1976 to 1983, their author Bob Colacello revives those disco years, bursting with eccentricity, when everyone could pretend to be someone else for one night. “We dreamed of 1920s Paris with Josephine Baker or 1930s America with Clark Gable and Greta Garbo,” recalls the former editor of the cult magazine Interview. Armed with his miniature Minox, he did not miss a beat of the evenings where the personalities of rock, literature and the arts mingled. His interpersonal skills even led him to the White House, where he immortalized Jimmy Carter and the Reagans.

Hyperactive flippant

At 75, the journalist-writer-photographer has given up clubbing. ” Too old. At my age, you can no longer drink, dance, take cocaine and feel your heart beating wildly, he slips without regret. But, don’t worry, I’m not a “healthy” man.. If there’s one word I hate, it’s “wellness”. » The casual hyperactive, who has long been the celebrity chronicle of Vanity Fair, always runs social events. In September 2022, he even paraded for stylist Tommy Hilfiger.

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Because Bob Colacello is a New York myth, like his friend Fran Lebowitz, whose bite he shares. Like the columnist with the delivery of a machine gun, the bespectacled grouch loves to knock everything out, friends and enemies alike – and even more his time. Bob Colacello has crossed the decades, interviewed Balthus and Prince Charles, without ever stopping to look in the rear view mirror. His watch stopped on the seventies, with liberating hedonism, when the last sexual, racial and social barriers were collapsing. “All the planets were united”, he summarizes.

Difficult for the septuagenarian to adapt to the uses of the moment. Bob Colacello does not have a smartphone. And, if he does have an Instagram account, it is his New York gallery, Vito Schnabel, who feeds it. “To be honest, I hate technology, artificial intelligence, anything that has unnecessarily complicated our lives,” mutters the dandy of the Upper East Side, who misses the time “where we just stole your wallet without hacking your bank account”.

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