Shake This: Michael Stipe Might Own Andy Warhol's Last Polaroid Picture

October 29, 2019
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Michael Stipe attends the premiere screening and party for truTV’s new comedy series “At Home with Amy Sedaris” at The Bowery Hotel on October 19, 2017 in New York City. 27056_024. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)


By Eli Sugerman

Andy Warhol's fifteen minutes of fame seem to go on and on. At least they do for R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe, who is apparently a huge fan of the pop artist. So much so, in fact, that (as he related in a T Magazine interview) Stipe keeps a Polaroid camera in his studio that was once owned (and used) by Warhol. In the interview, Stipe also noted that he has been reading Patti Smith's new memoir, Year of the Monkey.

Stipe recently debuted his first work as a solo musician, "Your Capricious Soul," but has also diversified his artistic output since R.E.M. broke up in 2011 by becoming a visual artist too. Our Interference Times: A Visual Record, a book featuring his photography, was published in July, following 2018's Volume 1.

While Volume 1 focused on pictures documenting Stipe's time in R.E.M., the new collection focuses on the contemporary moment, "its moiré patterns, its signal to noise, its interferences, its consonances and dissonances, its jittery disruptions, and the extreme present tense that we’re enveloped in" (as described by the publisher, Damiani).

In response to an interview question, "What’s the weirdest object in your studio?" Stipe revealed that he is never far from the legacy of Andy Warhol. "I have his Big Shot," said Stipe. "There was a shot in it, by the way. I have what might be Warhol’s last work." This is far from the only connection between Andy Warhol and rock music; he also designed the album art for The Velvet Underground and Nico's eponymous debut, featuring the iconic and peelable banana.

What iconic image was captured in Warhol's final Polaroid? Stipe isn't telling, so it's anyone's guess (a can of soup, perhaps?) but if you have a hankering to catch some of Warhol's work in person, there is a significant retrospective of his art, "Andy Warhol–From A to B and Back Again," running at the Art Institute of Chicago now until Jan 26, 2020.


Related: A Piece Of Rock History: The R.E.M. Tape That Started It All For The Metro