Andy Warhol : A Salesman or an Artist?
Two readings of Andy Warhol: (Foster in MacCabe
"The seductive attributes of the imagery exploited by these artists [pop
artists] thus tend to have a disconcerting quality. A trace of maelancholy
inhabits the euphoria; the gloss and finish assume an enigmatic, threadbare
patina; precision, turned thus on its head, becomes a challenge to the
eye. Whereas the designers had merely displayed products, the artists
were now displaying designed products." (Osterworld,
his images as referential: Underneath the glamorous surface of commodity
fetishes and media stars [Thomas] Crow finds 'the reality of suffering
and death': the tragedies of Marilyn, Liz and jackie in particular are
said to prompt 'straightforward expressions of feeling'.
his images as simulacral: e.g. Roland Barthes: "What Pop art wants. . .
is to desymbolize the object," that is, to release the image from deep
meaning into (metaphoric association or metonymic connection) into simulacral
surface. "The pop artist does not stand behind his work. . . and
he himself has no depth: he is merely the surface of his pictures, no dignified,
no intention, anywhere."
Warhol: "If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface
of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There's nothing
"The point is not to decide if Warhol's work is subversive of commodity
culture either actively, thanks to the violence of a critical apprehension
of it, or passively, through the endless reflection of its infinite repetitiveness.
Nor is the point to establish if Warhol is fully, consciously and cynically
explointing the very culture he both embraces and opposes. The tension
between the dandy and the flaneur shows that the condition of modern art
is schizophrenic, constitutionally divided so that no individual talent
can counteract the discrepancies that inhabit it." (Lombardo in MacCabe
Andy Warhol mottos:
Toy Paintings: Four Monkeys. 1983.
"I want to be a machine."
"I like boring things." "I like things to be exactly the same over
and over again."
"I don't want it to be essentially the same--I want it to be exactly the
same. Because the more you look at the same exact thing, the more
the meaning goes away, and the better and emptier you feel." (Foster
in MacCabe 119)
Marilyn Monroe, 1967.
Six Moon Explorers, 1963.
Self - Portrait, 1967.
Osterwold, Tilman. Pop Art.
MacCabe, Colin, et al, eds. Who Is Andy
Warhol? Pittsburgh, PA: The British Film Institute and The Andy
Warhol Museum, 1997.