This is the question you will probably never hear. Andy Warhol is the king of American Art, it is hard to imagine contemporary world without his ideas and aesthetics. He had made a huge impact not only on the world of art, but on music, design, photography, fashion, cinema and on the whole visual perception of the modern environment.
To gain better understanding of his mysterious and eccentric personality, we’ll go through some facts about his life and oeuvre in this article.
We need to talk about Andy
To have a broad picture of Warhol’s heritage, one article is not enough. Even ten articles would not be enough. His work is very versatile and complex; it’s full of intellectual twists and double meanings. So in order to get an image of Andy Warhol not only as a famous provocateur and art marketer, but as a highly intelligent and far-fetched author, who had created completely different philosophy of dealing with art, we need two following things. A movie and a book.
The Complete Picture is a three-hour documentary that takes us through Warhol’s life from his troubled early years to the most famous moments of his carrier. Sigmund Freud is right, as usual, and most of our views, character features and qualities are deeply influenced by the childhood events. Andy Warhol’s young years and pre-Factory experience is crucial in the understanding of his intentions and interests.
The second and very important thing is an autobiographical book “The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again)”. Who could have told it better than the author himself. This is a kind of a manual for everybody who wants to know more about art industry, about advertising, pop-culture, sales, and, of course, about the one and only Andy Warhol.
Andy and his shoes
Warhol started his carrier as a commercial designer, and some of his most recognizable adverts were about shoes. He was a shoe fetishist and carried this affection throughout his life. He had created The Shoe Series in 1981, dedicated solely to this piece of our wardrobe. Warhol added the diamond dust to his works, which is a side product of an industrial diamond production. So we have a touch of glamour, which is actually coming from the manufacturing by-effect. Such ironic and symbolic works are quite typical for Warhol. We have to dig deeper, to see not just a pretty shoe.
Andy and his portraits
We all are familiar with the famous bright pop art portraits by Warhol. But he was not satisfied with just depicting a glimpse of a person. He wanted to capture the character, the behavior. He wanted to perform an experiment. A certain person was told to be in front of the camera, and that was it. A couple minutes of filming and no instructions whatsoever. What if that person was Salvador Dali? Would he be still in his character after a silent gaze of a camera eye? That is the question behind these video portraits, called Screen Tests: “What would be the person like without any frameworks?”
Andy and his cookie jars
In 1987, the collection of Andy Warhol’s cookie jars was sold for an outrageous $250,000. This mind-breaking sum of money was paid for a regular manufactured pottery. Or wasn’t it? The thing is, that Warhol was a brilliant PR manager of his own brand – his art. And after his death, merely everything he had touched was estimated and ready for sale. The buyers would purchase not just some objects, but Warhol’s personal artistic “vision” reflected in these objects.
There are much more fascinating facts about Andy Warhol, but we’ll leave them for a dessert (a.k.a. next article). The thing about Warhol’s oeuvre, it is so multidimensional and still up-to-date, that there is just no such thing as “getting enough of Andy”.