Posted on: April 11, 2021 Posted by: Stuti Shiva Comments: 3

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All art ultimately illumines the culture in which it is created, even if that culture usually serves merely as a backdrop to the projection of some more ideal or alternative reality by the artist. But with so-called Pop Art, the very backdrop of mass-culture became the foreground subject of art itself. By magnifying the lack of taste and extreme vulgarity or kitsch that are inevitable by-products of an increasingly globalised mass-culture, artists have not only ironically drawn attention to that debasement of taste, but equally stressed their own detachment from it, as though to assert that they themselves are privileged beings who stand outside society and remain untainted by its corruptions.

In 1962, the year in which Pop Art was established as the latest major artistic movement, Andy Warhol began his transition from hand-painted to photo-transferred art with a groundbreaking series of works. While these pieces mimicked a mechanical method of production, they were in fact hand-painted. The set of works was called simply Campbell’s Soup Cans, and would become one of the most iconic, signature pieces of his career. Pioneering a variety of techniques, but principally by means of the visual isolation of imagery, its repetition and enforced similarity to printed images, and the use of garish colour to denote the visual garishness that is often encountered in mass culture, Andy Warhol threw much direct or indirect light upon modern  world-weariness, nihilism, materialism, political manipulation, economic exploitation, conspicuous consumption, media hero-worship, and the creation of artificially-induced needs and aspirations.

First Pop Star of the Art World

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He was a legend in his own life time. Hardly anyones’s life has been covered by as much writing (and gossip) as Andy Warhol’s.There is a museum devoted to his work in his home- town of Pittsburgh. A foundation that bears his name distributes millions for worthwhile artistic endeavours. Shy, friendly and usually smiling, he some times gave an appearance of being aloof and and not being of the world.

Warhol’s images might initially appear to be rather simple. Yet because of that very simplicity they enjoy a high degree of immediate visual impact. Although hand-painted, the Soup Cans had the look of their industrially reproduced models. Warhol soon went further, applying the methods of mechanical re- production to painting, including later versions of the Soup Cans; he extended this industrial model of production to sculpture and the whole gamut of customarily “handmade” works of art, glorifying the banal artefacts of American consumer culture and its icons of celebrity. The Soup Cans, at first widely dismissed as the ultimate cynical gimmick, were soon recognized as the first shots of a total revolution in American culture.

Andy Warhol, the enigma

It’s too hard to look in the mirror, there’s nothing there.

Andy Warhol
American Pop artist Andy Warhol sits in front of several paintings in his ‘Endangered Species’ at his studio, the Factory, in Union Square, New York, New York, April 12, 1983. (Brownie Harris/Corbis/Getty Images)

This enigmatic quality, which made Warhol a celebrity, infused all his work with a kind of empty secret. It was there for others to interpret; the brilliantly terse aphorisms he coined about himself and his work, the interviews in which he claimed that other people did all his paintings for him, the exhibitionists he collected as a sort of protective gang around him, created a vast field of legend that steadily multiplied the value of everything he made.

In the book, Andy Warhol was a Hoarder~inside the minds of history’s great personalities by Claudia Kalb takes a peek into the psyche, that made Andy Warhol. Why did Andy Warhol fill hundreds of boxes with old postcards, medical bills, and pizza crusts?What drives creative genius and intellectual brilliance? And what lies beneath? Step inside and you are transported back into a rousing art world of the 1960s and 70s, encapsulated in Warhol’s innovative and rebellious work : The Campbell’s silk screens, the Brillobox installation, the “Silver Clouds” balloons, the silk screen of skulls and celebrities, the haunting self portraits with spiky hair, and the artist’s infamous “oxidation” works~ created in a museum describes by the Christie’s auction house as “copper metallic pigment and ruin on canvas.”

He was an accumulator of epic promotions. he loved to shop, and he did whenever or wherever he could ~five and dime stores, antique stores, hight~end galleries. Hoarding has existed for at least as long as Dante’s 14~century epic poem :The divine Comedy condemned hoarders to the fourth circle of hell, where they would spend eternity at war with the nemesis, the wasters. Today, many of us use the world to describe a bad habit that junks up our living room with magazine and our closets with shoes. Warhol’s cache was in a league of its own. What makes Warhol’s story so captivating is that he luxuriated in such divergent worlds~the upscale and the mundane and left behind a monumental mix of both.

In perhaps the most famous quote attributed to him, Warhol said ; “In future, everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes.” For Warhol and his stuff, 15 minutes turned out to be forever.

In The End

In the twentieth century, perhaps only Picasso left a comparably prodigious and variegated body of work.No one will ever get the final word on Andy Warhol. I considered him a brilliant provocateur, an artist of genius whose personality, as much as his art, exposed the vapid conformity, sexual repressiveness, and crass commercial values of American culture that prevailed during the 70s; like many, I read into Warhol’s ongoing enterprise a satirical contempt for the banality of that culture and its norms. That enterprise had, at first, a decidedly marginal character, appealed to a special kind of minority sensibility, and was valued precisely because of its “countercultural” insouciance. Yet whether the Soup Cans, and the staggering quantity of works that followed, signified contempt or reverence, love or loathing, a mixture of feelings or an absence of any feelings at all, could not be gleaned from the paintings themselves. And the artist had, by the time they were shown, perfected a laconic and distancing persona that confounded any definition and presented itself to the public as a glacial enigma.

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