Sunday, April 26, 2009

I Hate Andy Warhol

I never much cared for Andy Warhol. His contemporaries like Andrew Wyeth and Jackson Pollock did amazing things working with the traditional elements of painting like, form, line, light, color, and texture. Warhol had some mastery of these elements, but no more than the average art student.

The primary element of Warhol's work was culture. By presenting us with a rectangle full of familiar images, he re-contextualized the television experience. Television though, constantly contextualizes itself, so Warhol didn't really add anything.

People are more likely to buy a painting if there's somebody famous in it. Artists have been doing this for thousands of years. You can go down to Jackson Square in New Orleans this very afternoon and find a couple dozen artists doing exactly what Warhol did in that respect.

The art movement attributed to Warhol would have happened without him. The television experience was already producing dozens of artists doing exactly what Warhol did. By the time he retired, there would be thousands. Now that his techniques are fairly easy using a computer, there are millions.

Warhol's fame comes mainly from being at the right place in the right time. The New York art scene has a way of propagating and inflating bullshit to mammoth proportions and Warhol became its beneficiary. His work and his personality made him, effectivly, the Perez Hilton of his day.

I'm glad we live in a world where an artist can become as famous as Andy Warhol; I just wish it'd happen to better artists. My suspicion is that better artists would shun the social situations Warhol thrived on, and since those social situations are probably the biggest part of Warhol's fame, it's probably unlikely that a better artist will ever achieve his level of noteriety, at least in their lifetime.

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