(Picture courtesy of Dystopos at flickr.com.)
As several regulars at Saturday Art posts have noticed, I’ve been doing reviews of modern artists that don’t evoke all positive reactions. Like Peter Max, much of his work has a cartoon quality. Like Jackson Pollock, Warhol has been something of a caricature of an artist in his appearances and media awareness. To some of us, that lessens the dignity of his actual work.
While his own museum is situated nearby me, in Pittsburgh, I’ve never actually made the trip. Someday I shall, but I’ll be a bit uncomfortable doing it.
The smack in the face that can happen on viewing Warhol’s can of tomato soup, or the many reproductions of Marilyn Monroe’s stylized face, can make us question his serious artistry.
Warhol has been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions, books, and feature and documentary films. He coined the widely used expression “15 minutes of fame“. Many of his creations are very collectible and highly valuable.
Prior to entering the field of fine art, Warhol’s commercial art background also involved innovative techniques for image making that were somewhat related to printmaking techniques. When rendering commercial objects for advertising Warhol devised a technique that resulted in a characteristic image. His imagery used in advertising was often executed by means of applying ink to paper and then blotting the ink while still wet. This was akin to a printmaking process on the most rudimentary scale.
Warhol’s work both as a commercial artist and later a fine artist displays a casual approach to image making, in which chance plays a role and mistakes and unintentional marks are tolerated. The resulting imagery in both Warhol’s commercial art and later in his fine art endeavors is often replete with imperfection—smudges and smears can often be found. In his book “POPism” Warhol writes, “When you do something exactly wrong, you always turn up something.”
While I wouldn’t want to stay long in the same room with most of his work, Warhol has a place and a standing in his own right. He made an impact, and provided an excitement to the art scene with his iconoclasm.
(Picture courtesy of Vilseskogen at flickr.com.)