Have you ever stood in line outside a club, hoping and waiting for the bouncer to let you in? Have you felt the club doorkeeper’s eyes scrutinizing you through a peephole of a door without a handle, hoping your outfit is stylish enough for you to gain admittance? Andy Warhol didn’t. Well, at least not in New York City and not in 1981, almost 20 years after his Campbell’s Soup Can paintings catapulted him to the helm of the contemporary and pop art scenes.
For those less talented and less famous than Warhol, the “Queen of the Night” (also known as Regine Zylberberg and the owner of Regine’s nightclub), employed an advisory committee to review applications for club membership. The lucky few who were selected could purchase a $600 membership that granted free admission with up to 7 friends.
Memberships and admission were so exclusive at Regine’s that the New York State Liquor Authority investigated the club for “social discrimination.” Andy, however, didn’t have any trouble getting in.
Recently, the Time Capsules Cataloguing Project came across, in TC314, a gold-plated Regine’s membership card in a leather Cartier case, already engraved with Andy’s name, given, Regine writes, “as a token of my friendship.” No, Andy didn’t have to wait outside, hoping to be let in. He sauntered in without even needing the highly sought-after gold card, which he unceremoniously tossed into his January 1981 Time Capsule.