Thursday, 27 August 2015

Hate & Warhol

'Andy Warhol looks a scream...Hang him on my wall...' (David Bowie)

Not more Warhol - BBC's A Day in the Life of Andy Warhol doc was on the other night - of course I watched - you and me can't get enough Warhol, can we? Perhaps you can.

Warhol being so Pop for The People with his art for people who don't like Art is almost enough to stop me watching anything to do with him. Almost. Those people, you know the type, reggae is Bob Marley, Surrealism is Dali and horror books are Stephen King - them.

So it's all in the eye/ear of the beholder, Pop people still irritate me. They only see/hear the surface of all cultural products, which to them are mere consumer goods sold to them by the mega media/advertising machine. Warhol and Pop Art mirroring the consumer machine, it's perfect for The People. More so Warhol than any of the others. The others, such as the UK's own Pauline Boty or even Paolozzi probably don't exist for The People.

I'm second guessing ignorance. Naughty. Boty's barely recognised even by art critics. She died too young and besides, she was a woman. But none can compete with Warhol. A pact with the Devil, that fiendish peddler of worldwide success, suited him fine; it's what he craved, just as he idolised idols so he yearned to become one. It seems. Who can say what the real Warhol was about? Weird, normal, straight, bent, square, hip, deep or superficial.

If he hadn't made the death screenprints, the crazy films of the Empire State Building and John Giorno sleeping, or managed that band, the one that The People, the stupid People, don't even know and definitely do not like (oh the assumptions!) he wouldn't be interesting. He'd be a print-maker of pretty pictures, which would be enough to make him famous, perhaps, when the content is soup cans and Coke. Very Pop.

I hate and love Warhol. He's everything you want him to be and a big nothing. Hear a classicist scorn the prints and I leap to his defence, mustering my best justification/explanation of their significance in relation to multi-media mass consumerism and non-hierarchical art production. Something like that. 

A factory of art in defiance of the romantic-loner-in-the-studio image that dominated still as the last of the Abstract Expressionists stomped off in a huff. A seemingly endless production line, perfect for the golden age of American consumerism. Perhaps what riled some so much about Pop Art was the fact that it put their worst nightmares on canvas, but not as Goya or Bosch had done. This was worse. It was the horror of everyday domestic Pop life and more; the military industrial complex mixed with screen and stage star iconography and petrol stations, for chrissake! All that stuff. 

Flirting with the ordinary, crawling inside the belly of the capitalist beast, it's no wonder that The People love Warhol. He's The People's Pop artist. He gives them what they want; the pretty picture postcards and posters for their walls. Whether that justifies my contradictory feelings towards him due to a kind of shameless snobbery I shall debate with myself...until the multi-coloured cows come home...

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