Trust Andy Warhol to still be making headlines decades after his death. Last week, I read this Vanity Fair
article by James Franco that was posted on their website (and trust VF to get JF writing for them!).
It details how the godfather of Pop Art created a series of time capsules from 1974 until his death in 1987 - and how all 612 (!) of them are gradually being opened by the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.
They are about two thirds of the way in and in true Warhol style, there is no flashy extravagance, no corny “Dear myself in 20 years time” letters and definitely no proclamations of “this is what life looked like in the ’70s”. Rather, you’ll find mundane items (by Warhol’s standards) packed away in simple cardboard boxes.
In Time Capsule 158 for instance, there’s a handwritten note from Liz Taylor, a cup and saucer from American Airlines, an invitation for someone else’s art exhibition and a photo of Warhol with his dog.
Now, I am a bandit for modern history. Anything that offers a genuine glimpse into the minds (and times) of legends like this has me clicking at the computer like I'm bidding furiously on eBay.
This story also got me thinking about the time capsule I once made with my cousin. From memory it was a glass jar. In it we placed lollies, photos of ourselves, a defaced picture of a girl she hated and love letters detailing the boys we had crushes on (and were destined to end up with, of course). We must have been all of 12-years-old and as far as I know our ‘time capsule’ is still buried somewhere in her backyard (we never marked the spot where we dug our little hole).
I haven’t heard of anyone I know making a time capsule (on their own accord) for a very long time. Even a quick survey around the madison office found that most had done them as part of a greater school project (meaning they’d drawn a picture or written some crappy poem at the demands of their teacher) and had no idea when they were being dug up.
I think this a shame. Maybe this is the history nerd in me speaking, but when done genuinely (à la Warhol), time capsules offer a rare glimpse into one distinct moment in time; into what someone's thinking, feeling and ultimately seeing the world.
Throw in a dash of pre-teenage naivety ... and you’ve got some potential laughs in there too.
Did you ever make a time capsule when you were younger? What items did you place in there?
Once a friend of mine found an old 1960s opera ticket in a vintage clutch she’d bought. We fantasised about the evening the original owner would’ve had, all glammed up wearing lots of gold, Chanel perfume and layers of fur for her big night on the town.
In the 21st century, perhaps this is the next best thing ...Jessica Montague is madison’s acting features associate. You can follow her on Twitter here