Andy Warhol? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: The expression “fifteen minutes of fame” is based on a quotation by the influential Pop artist Andy Warhol. But what exactly did he say and when did he say it?
Quote Investigator: Warhol’s notable maxim about the transience of fame has been popular for much longer than the standard allotment of fifteen minutes. The earliest evidence QI has located for a version of the phrase is in an issue of Time magazine dated October 13, 1967 [TIAW]:
Whole new schools of painting seem to charge through the art scene with the speed of an express train, causing Pop Artist Andy Warhol to predict the day “when everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.”
Many reference works list an important citation that was published the next year in early 1968. An exhibition of Warhol’s art was held at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden and a catalog for the show was released in February-March 1968 which included a version of the popular apothegm [YQAW] [QVAW] [OQAW]:
In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.
This variant includes the extra modifier “world” that is absent in the earlier Time magazine citation. Indeed, the wording of the expression is highly variable, and Warhol himself deliberately altered the statement over time.
Here are additional selected citations in approximately chronological order.