Tag Archive: Pop_art


Why I Am A Warhol-ian

            I make no effort to hide that I’m a Warhol fan.  At times I may even be a bit infatuated.  Not just with the art but the man himself.  I’m not entirely sure what, but something about him fascinates me.  Or maybe it’s everything.  It was Arthur Danto’s essay about Warhol “The Philosopher as Andy Warhol” that really got me interested.  Now I’m just kind of hooked.

            Let’s start with the art.  I’ve always enjoyed Warhol’s work (well, paintings/prints at least, I haven’t really seen any of his films, just clips).  Maybe it’s because he started as a commercial artist and I love vintage advertising.  Maybe it’s because I like patterns and his repetitive screen prints create their own patterns.  Maybe I just like all the bright colors.  Or maybe I just like boring things.  I’m generally not a fan of modern art, but I do like Pop Art.  I have nothing against a good abstract painting, but I always find myself gravitating more towards pieces that actually depict things.  And Pop Art helped bring art out of abstract expressionism and back to things, so I appreciate that. I also like Pop Culture.  Well, I may not always like it, but keeping up with pop culture is a guilty pleasure of mine, which is another reason I like Pop Art. 

            Moving on to the person.  As previously mentioned, there’s just something about Andy Warhol that fascinates me, and it’s not just our shared favorite phrase (“I don’t know).  He is a bit of an enigma.  I feel we somehow both completely know the real Andy Warhol and don’t at the same time.  It’s like his whole life was an art piece.  But was it all an act?  Or was it really him?  It’s hard to say, at least for me since I only have what other people have said to go on, and can’t observe first hand.  I’ve been reading I’ll Be Your Mirror which is a collection of Warhol interviews.  The ones done with his friends are best, but they’re all interesting.  Everyone wants to make him into some interview genius, but I’m not sure that’s the case.  He certainly knew how to make things interesting, but was he really a genius interviewee, or just an introverted person who got the spotlight turned on him?  I don’t know.

            I’ve also been looking through the book Andy Warhol’s Time Capsule 21.  Apparently he started just putting stuff in cardboard boxes and then sealing them up when they were full.  I suppose today he might be called a hoarder.  There’s also his almost obsession with recording people.  In a way I think he really foresaw reality TV.  People made fun of his films of someone just sleeping for 8 hours, or eating a mushroom, but is that really all that different than some of the stuff on the air these days?  He did say that in the future everyone would be world famous for 15 minutes.  And now with reality TV and the internet, everyone really can.

            I think it’s a shame that Andy died before computers and things like Photoshop really took off.  I think he could have loved it.  It’s as close to being a machine as you can get.  Compared to things like silkscreens and other human made prints that always turn out slightly different than the one before, there isn’t any human error (at least not any that can’t be fixed).  I think he would have loved digital recording and being able to keep so much in such a little space. 

            Perhaps I haven’t adequately explained why I like Warhol so much.  But then again, I’m not entirely sure myself.  So this will have to do for now. 

A lot of people have strong opinions about Duchamp’s readymade The Fountain.  I personally cannot stand it.  I appreciate that by taking a urinal out of its natural setting and placing it in a gallery it makes one question what is art, and what a urinal is if it’s not functional and things like that.  But I do not believe that was Duchamp’s intent.  So I guess perhaps that it’s Duchamp himself that bothers me in this situation.  He doesn’t always, there’s work of his that I like, just not The Fountain.  Danto said that the show The Fountain was in was un-juried, but I could have sworn that I read somewhere it was juried and that Duchamp himself was in the jury.  Maybe it was just that he was there.  Either way, he went around telling everyone how great this piece was while not letting on that it was his piece.  By not signing his name, to me it shows that he did not find it beautiful.  To me it seems The Fountain was more about what he could get away with than what he really considered art/beauty.  He wanted to see if he could convince people that this urinal was art and get away with it.

            That is why I prefer Warhol.  I believe Warhol really did see the whole world as art.  I think Warhol connects back to one of the first readings we did in class (On Beauty and Being Wrong), where Elaine Scarry talks about how when one sees beauty, they want to replicate it.  That’s why Warhol replicated soup cans, Brillo boxes, celebrities and even death; he found it all beautiful.  This is also another point against Duchamp in my book.  Duchamp didn’t replicate a urinal.  He just took it and signed a fake name to it.  This also indicates to me that he did not actually find it beautiful.  Perhaps I just relate more to Warhol, since too find beauty in the everyday objects around us.  I think my own photography expresses that, since I often try to capture things other people might just walk by.  Maybe that’s why I love photography so much.  I can capture and replicate the every day, like Warhol.  The world is fascinating, Warhol saw that.  I think Duchamp and the Dadaists saw the world as bizarre and not in the same positive light Warhol did.  I think the world can be both, bizarre and fascinating. 

 

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