March 28, 2016

Andy Warhol

Few people on are the fence in their regard – or disregard – for Andy Warhol.  But whether you love his art, loathe his art, or are lackluster about his art, the fact remains that he is arguably America’s best-known artist and [also arguably] considered to be one of the two most influential artists, along with Picasso, of the 20th century.  Those are pretty big claims.  Pepperdine’s Weisman Museum currently has an exhibit of his work, so we braved the stoopid LA traffic …

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This particular article breaks down some of the reasons why Warhol matters.  I appreciated this quote that expands on the idea that Warhol’s oeuvre is a significant documentation of the history of the second half of the twentieth century:

Warhol’s art is itself like a March of Time newsreel, an abbreviated visual anthology of the most conspicuous headlines, personalities, mythic creatures, edibles, tragedies, artworks, even ecological problems of recent decades. If nothing were to remain of the years from 1962 to 1987 but a Warhol retrospective, future historians and archaeologists would have a fuller time capsule to work with than that offered by any other artist of the period. With infinitely more speed and wallop than a complete run of the New York Times on microfilm, or even twenty-five leather bound years of Time magazine (for which he did several covers), Warhol’s work provides an instantly intelligible chronicle of what mattered most to people, from the suicide of Marilyn Monroe to the ascendancy of Red China, as well as endless grist for the mills of cultural speculation about issues ranging from post-Hiroshima attitudes towards death and disaster to the accelerating threat of mechanized, multiple-image reproduction to our still-clinging, old-fashioned faith (both commercial and aesthetic) in handmade, unique originals.” ~Robert Rosenblum, art historian

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“"Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art," Andy Warhol famously said. "Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art."  Some people applaud his capitalistic focus and others condemn his art as mere commercialism.  Good article discussing this dichotomy.

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I enjoyed the exhibit.  Other Kellers were perhaps a little less (or a LOT less) enthusiastic.  But we all unanimously agreed that what followed – time with College Kid, food trucks, and concerts by Wilson Howard (student) and Us the Duo and The Oh Hellos – was pretty fantastic.


Eddie Ott said...

"If nothing were to remain of the years from 1962 to 1987 but a Warhol retrospective..."
...which will never come to pass. The data recorded in Warhol's lifetime and the modern era makes art obsolete as a means of documenting culture. There are probably MILLIONS of real life photographic images of grocery items from the 60s. Thousands of articles and novels painting verbal pictures of the same. So perhaps his "art" is nothing more than an acknowledgment of the death of art as a means to record culture. No longer significant? Then why waste your time; just draw a soup can and be done with it.
The bigger than life sized frog was OK.

Tracy P. said...

I think it looks and sounds fascinating. I never thought about the changing role of art in the "documenting" of culture. Can art be art without being as much a commentary (i.e. biased) as it is a record? Does Warhol's work not mirror an era of mass production brilliantly? Hello plastic. I have no idea. But I love that you (two) just made me ask those questions. Glad you braved the traffic and saw College Dude. My favorite art was the art wandering among the art. ;-)