Andy Warhol’s Index, the Pope of Pop’s mass-produced 1967 pop-up book has been described as a “children’s book for hipsters.” It’s an item seldom encountered these days outside of auction houses, or high end book dealers, but on occasion the item does, er, pop-up on eBay for a decent price. You can usually find several expensive copies on ABEbooks.com.
The prices can vary quite a bit: there’s a hardback version with a plastic lenticular cover vs a foil-printed paperback, and copies signed by Warhol, obviously, have quite a premium on them. The other factor in how dealers price the book, however, tends to be about how complete it is. Random House probably didn’t published too many of these to begin with, and obviously they were hand-made to a certain extent. Many of the goodies that were originally part of the package tend to have gotten lost over the decades, so a complete edition is difficult to come by and often very expensive (I’ve owned two copies of this myself, an incomplete hardback copy that I lost in a girlfriend “divorce” and the pristine, complete paperback I found for a shockingly low price at The Strand’s rare book room about fifteen years ago that’s sitting on a shelf behind me as I type this).
Whenever someone over to the house expresses an interest in my book collection, Andy Warhol’s Index is one of the first things I pull out. As you can see from this video below, it’s a pretty impressive item, with pop-up planes, accordions, Campbell’s soup cans, Edie, Lou, Nico, things you’re supposed to dunk into water, even a pop-up paper castle meant to stand-in for the infamous dwelling where visiting rock bands stayed when they were in Los Angeles in the 60s.
Contributors besides Warhol were David Paul, Stephen Shore, Billy Name, Nat Finkelstein, Paul Morissey, Ondine, Nico, Christopher Cerf, Alan Rinzler, Gerald Harrison and Akihito Shirakawa.
The flexi disc of a 1966 Factory “Conversation” (Nico, Lou, Andy, John Cale and others talking about a mock-up of the book itself) is almost never found still in the binding. Listen below:
The tear-off sheet to the right of Henry Geldzahler, the influential curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, above, was supposed to be dunked into a glass of water. Rumors were that it was blotter acid, but I think instead (I’ve never tried it) you got Warhol’s signature in invisible ink or it expanded like a sponge.