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Andy Warhol

(Icons of America)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  280 ratings  ·  25 reviews
An elegant, masterful portrait of Andy Warhol’s life, character, and lasting influence by an eminent art critic.

In a work of great wisdom and insight, art critic and philosopher Arthur Danto delivers a compact, masterful tour of Andy Warhol’s personal, artistic, and philosophical transformations. Danto traces the evolution of the pop artist, including his early reception,
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published October 20th 2009 by Yale University Press (first published 1997)
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Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
Study of Warhol's art and its meaning. I heard words like philosophy and ideas come up a lot. It seems Warhol's art was a social commentary on the postwar world where factory products could be churned out like Campbell's soup or Brillo boxes. Also, the cult of celebrity was something that was central to Warhol's work. Where packaged product and packaged celebrity was central to US culture of that time and most definitely ours. Warhol was an early adopter in commenting through his art on this pre ...more
Myke Cole
Mar 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great introduction to Warhol and his significance in the art world, especially for the uninitiated. By focusing on Warhol's art, and more importantly its reverberations through the global concept of art, rather than on the artist's life, Danto provides a quick summary that gives philistines (like myself) a quick grasp on why we should give a damn.

And we *do* give a damn by the time Danto is done, because his prose style is engaging, at times intellectual and high-fallutin', and at times colloq
Aug 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Arthur C. Danto's ANDY WARHOL, part of Yale University Press's ICONS OF AMERICA series, is a short book (162 pages, including bibliography and index) with a narrow scope. Considering the breadth of Warhol's work, such narrowness is welcome, but it yields a number of troubling generalizations and omissions. For instance, Danto draws too neat a line between Warhol's pre- and post-1968 work (although I give him credit for resisting the myth that the shift in Warhol's artistic approach was caused en ...more
Aug 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Ah another book on Warhol. Is there reason for another one? Well, first of all Danto is a good writer, and he points out what makes Warhol an interesting artist - a great one in fact. One, is that Warhol is very much part of the mainstream American taste for consumer items, like yes, the soup - but he also quite subversive in his own manner as well.

This is a very quick read, and I think for the Warhol curious, it will them check out other books -and hopefully the artwork and the films. So, the b
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-be-an-artist
Marvellous book that investigates and analyses the place that Andy Warhol's work occupies in the World of Art, and looks further deeper into its philosophical meaning, (of course, as Art.)
It raises and answers several questions that have been around since the contemporary art of the early XXth century appeared: what is truly art? How can we define a piece of art? What makes something become art? What's the difference between an ordinary object and art? Does Art need to be beautiful? Does Art ne
Nov 07, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I enjoyed this book. I’m not a huge fan of Warhol, but I do respect his work. And it was nice just to sit and read a well-written book on art. It was a little too-something though. I think maybe it takes Warhol’s work a little too seriously. I’m not saying his work wasn’t serious or important, mind, but this book takes it a step too far. I think it’s when the author brings up the Holy Grail that I thought that maybe he likes Warhol and his work a little too much to be objective in his critiques.
May 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: saggistica
Testo completo e approfondito che riguarda più il pensiero anche sta dietro l'arte di Wahrol che non le opere di per se stesse. Nodo centrale è cosa ha reso Wahrol l'artista capace di rivoluzionare il mondo dell'arte degli anni sessanta, al punto che era noto a tutti - anche a chi di arte non se ne interessava punto. Molto interessante anche se l'esposizione del pensiero dell'autore divaga spesso ed è' difficile rintracciare un evidente filo cronologico che lega gli eventi narrati, il che rende ...more
Denton Peter McCabe
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Danto's survey of Warhol's work was written for the uninitiated and those who are maybe familiar with Warhol's work, but might lack knowledge of the historical context into which his work was born. Danto's assessment raises the obvious in Warhol's work, essentially that it raised questions of what art is and what it is not. I wouldn't recommend this to anybody. Then again, I was never really much of a fan of Danto to begin with.
Thu Hoài
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
I confess: I have absolutely zero knowledge of art or Andy Warhol. I kinda know Andy Warhol is a popular figure, but never do I imagine it would be because of a soup can or a grocery box. And to be honest, even after reading the book, I have not figured it out. However, with the book itself, the author did a fine job of integrating Warhol work the story of his life into a short, easy-to-read book.
Marcos Ramon
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Arthur Danto apresenta aqui um perfil de Warhol sem isenções. Mostra a obsessão de Warhol pelo dinheiro e pelo modo de vida americano e destaca a influência disso na construção de sua obra. Sendo um artista, mas também um grande empreendedor (não da arte em geral, mas de si mesmo), Andy Warhol reinventou, no século XX, o conceito de artista.
Zhiyi Li
Dec 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Started a while ago, and finally finished it. It provides pretty decent insights on Warhol's works, particularly their philosophical meaning and artistic significance. I found the book very helpful. However, the writing is pretty loose and episodic. That is probably why it took me so long to finish it.
Alejandra Diaz
Jun 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
Did not finish
Jul 26, 2013 rated it liked it
This book raised Andy Warhol's importance to art in my eyes. Sometimes I talk to people who don't consider themselves art lovers, they conceive of modern art as something of an inside joke. I have spoken with some lovers of art who also feel that much of what is contemporary (read here after 1960) is a sort of con job. I have not always known how to respond to these remarks, as there are many contemporary pieces I really enjoy. Danto helps readers to understand not only Warhol and his art, but w ...more
Rena Sherwood
I love art but am not in love with biographies of artists. They tend to be so esoteric that I pretty well get disgusted by the whole art world. However, "Andy Warhol" is a lively little look not only at Warhol's career, but how he helped changed how people look at art. I remember as a kid thinking that Andy Warhol didn't do art -- and then I tried to draw a soup can.


My total failure at doing so gave me a much healthier appreciation for pop artists, particularly Warhol.

This is a very short book
Mar 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: art
I have somehow made it through an entire undergrad education without really learning too much about Warhol (a few days in Contemporary Art History, tops). So this was a great little read-in-one-day introduction. Loved the first few chapters about Warhol's relation to AbEx people, admiration for Johns/Rauschenberg, early work, etc. Especially where Danto is writing about the Brillo Boxes - awesomeness.

Was much less interested in the parts near the end all about the Moles and Solanas, but Danto t
Feb 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
This short book was a great introduction to Warhol's life and art. Most interesting was the topic, "What is art?" Is an item from everyday life art? The author suggests that anything can be art, but only if an artist intends it to be so. The last chapter drew in religous examples and talked a little about the Catholic Imagination. Items can be more than they appear (a Brillo Box can be art) just as an ordinary cup could have been the Holy Grail or as Jesus is not just a man (as you would imagine ...more
Elliot Chalom
Dec 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
There are many biographies of Andy Warhol. Probably too many to count. Danto says as much in the preface to his book, which he describes as “no more a piece of art history than it is a biography, but rather a study of what makes Warhol so fascinating an artist from a philosophical perspective.” With that in mind, I love Danto's approach and think this book is well worth reading.

Check out my detailed review over at
Debra Komar
Oct 06, 2015 rated it liked it
This is not a biography of Warhol. Rather, it is an extended, academic essay by Danto outlining why Warhol was a significant force in the modern art world. It feels more like a lengthy journal article, rather than a book (it is very short and sparsely illustrated). Danto makes his argument well, although I'm not sure I learned anything.
Lone Løvaas
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As always, Danto is brilliant in his light philosophy around Andy Warhol's life and work. Though the book is not a biographical work, it touches on all the important aspects of Warhol's life. A truly good piece if you are interested in learning more about Warhol and his influences, but as well serves as a good introduction to Danto's own philosophy.
Light reading about Andy Warhol's life. A 'must read' for pop art lovers.
Apr 10, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: completed
Underlying the important contribution of Andy!
Andres Root
Dec 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
"Aquello que hace de Warhol un artista fascinante desde una perspectiva filosófica."
Sep 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great read!
Sally Adler
rated it it was amazing
Jul 26, 2014
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Oct 26, 2018
Nancy Elsamanoudi
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Arthur C. Danto was Johnsonian Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Columbia University and art critic for The Nation. He was the author of numerous books, including Unnatural Wonders: Essays from the Gap Between Art and Life, After the End of Art, and Beyond the Brillo Box: The Visual Arts in Post-Historical Perspective.

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  Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made...
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