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The Mystery and Allure of Andy Warhol

Liz - Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol – “Liz”

 

“Human beings are born solitary, but everywhere they are in chains – daisy chains – of interactivity. Social actions are makeshift forms, often courageous, sometimes ridiculous, always strange. And in a way, every social action is a negotiation, a compromise between ‘his,’ ‘her’ or ‘their’ wish and yours.” ~ Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol né Andrew Warhola – (1928 – 1987).

Andy Warhol would probably like that the world still idolizes, imitates and loves him.

Legendary artist, film director and producer, Andy Warhol is the quintessential embodiment of I Am Art. Everything I Do is Art. His life was his art. And Warhol’s art is timeless. To this day, he remains of global interest and mystery, and his relentlessly rising prices at auction are a true testament to his timelessness. He exalted the mundane. Made icons out of things. His seemingly blasé gaze took in NYC and the world during the wilding of the ’60s and translated it into perpetual cool.

“I’ve always had a conflict because I’m shy, and yet I like to take up a lot of personal space… I wanted to command more space than I was commanding. But then I knew I was too shy to know what to do with the attention if I did manage to get it. ” ~ Andy Warhol

 

Cult of Personality

From a devout, poor but proud immigrant family, through sheer grit, vision, talent and style, Andrew Warhola produced his greatest creation…Andy Warhol, the world’s King of Pop Art. More than 30 years after his death, Warhol commands great power and value in some of the greatest art collections in the world.

His work had purpose, could be enigmatic, made many scratch their heads and sold for millions. His own life took on mythological proportions, made up of his various Factories with their outrageous, themed parties; his retinue of up and comers (including future luminaries Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring), pop sensations, beautiful street people, those he collected from the fringe.

And of course there are his words, words that haunt us to this day.

“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”

— Andy Warhol (possibly misattributed, which is so very Warholian)

He presaged the dawning of a new era where celebrity becomes the only cachet left, where social bonds are replaced by media, where integrity is replaced by fame. If he did not say those famous words about our 15 minutes, his work did. Perfectly capturing the evanescence of life, fame and youth.

His most celebrated silkscreen prints contain portraits of the famous, like Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and Chairman Mao. But there were also portraits of products, like his legendary fascination with Campbell’s Soup cans — a different kind of famous that so many in the 20th century grew up with.

By merging the reproduction of celebrity image with the reproduction of product design, he said everything about American culture then and, only more so, now. These celebrities are products: they are reproduced and sold. They move beyond the realm of people and enter into the tinsel-laden frontier of America’s collective imagination — as fascinating individuals that exist forever, gazing out at the viewer with mystery and seduction.

But the frontier is over. We reached the coast. And now we turn inward, connecting with ever more sophisticated information technology, chattering and sharing images at ever quicker speeds…brutally drowning quality with relentless, mind-numbing qu