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message 1: by Heather, Moderator (last edited Jul 28, 2018 03:18PM) (new)

Heather | 8385 comments 15 Things You Didn't Know about Andy Warhol

--Silver/White Hair
--Art club in school
--body double

message 2: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8385 comments Metapsychology online Reviews--Andy Warhol

"The Painted Word, Tom Wolfe's brilliant exposé of the insecurity, egoism, avarice, and hypocrisy of the pioneers of American Modern Art, Andy Warhol is chosen by Wolfe as the archetype for the greedy upstart artist. Wolfe quotes with undisguised disdain and disgust a classified ad that in 1966 Warhol had printed in the Village Voice to the effect that he would endorse anything for money. For numerous intellectuals familiar with or interested in art or especially aesthetics, Wolfe's characterization was and still remains, more or less, the regnant take on Warhol. Andy Warhol, it is often pronounced, was a phony.

Warhol's autobiographical book from 1975, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol, at first does very little to force one to change his or her opinion on this: it begins, in lieu of an introduction, with a transcript of a phone call between Warhol (who is called "A") and another unnamed person (who is called "B"), redacted by Warhol, who inserts his thoughts regarding the conversation into the text to create a narrative. This banal, at times even pathetic, 11-page introductory conversation is entitled "B and I: How Andy Puts His Warhol On," and it is ostensibly meant to inform the reader of Warhol's famous candor, his ability to speak critically of himself openly, and of some of his essential characteristics, such as the fact that he cannot bear to be alone (5). But what it instead conveys, especially to anyone even mildly suspicious of Warhol on account of presentations such as Wolfe's, is that Warhol is superficial, shallow and self-obsessed.

He is also full of contradictions. For example, though one of the first lines of the book is Warhol stating that he cannot be alone, he tells us in the first chapter--entitled, "Love (Puberty)"--that he is essentially a loner (23). He informs us that he did not have any psychological problems of his own (23), after already having narrated that he "had had three nervous breakdowns" when he was a child (21), and also describing in detail how pathologically jealous he was: "I get jealousy attacks all the time...I may be one of the most jealous people in the world....Basically, I go crazy when I can't have first choice on absolutely everything....As a matter of fact, I'm always trying to buy things and people just because I'm so jealous somebody else might buy them..." (49-50). No psychological problems indeed.

The Philosophy of Andy Warhol, then, presents the critical reader with a portrait of the artist as a shallow, egotistical, superficial, self-contradictory man. Tom Wolfe is vindicated--Warhol is a phony. But wait. Warhol is a phony what?

In chapter five, entitled "Fame," Warhol confesses something that actually begins to force the critical reader to reconsider the grounds of his negative attitude against him: "People used to say that I tried to 'put on' the media when I would give one autobiography to one newspaper and another autobiography to another newspaper. I used to like to give different information to different magazines..." (79). This is intriguing. Is that what Warhol is doing here, too? Is he providing just one among several possible autobiographies of himself? Indeed, Warhol published other books, other autobiographies, such as POPism: The Warhol Sixties and perhaps he enjoyed portraying a different Warhol in each of them.

And keeping this in mind, we must ask ourselves, what obligation does Warhol actually have to us, to his readers, not to dissemble, to fool around, to exaggerate or underplay, to seduce or mislead--aren't these partly the essence of art? While we are engaged in demanding of him, Will the real Andy Warhol please stand up?, Warhol, for his part, is sitting back and retorting, First prove to me why I should.

And I think he's got a point.

Although admittedly I started off in Wolfe's camp, and the first fifty pages of The Philosophy of Andy Warhol only serve to entrench a reader's negative biases, eventually, in middle chapters such as chapter 5, "Fame," chapter 6, "Work," and chapter 7, "Time," considerations such as those above mentioned began to eat away the ground of my critical stance. The reader begins to wonder, what right do I have to demand anything more from Warhol than his art?

This is not to say that Warhol is not a phony. Perhaps he is. But first it must be made clear by the accuser what he is a phony of. It is true that The Philosophy of Andy Warhol is not a great book. It lacks cohesive structure. For example, the later chapters (chapter 11, "Success," chapter 12, "Art," chapter 13, "Titles," and chapter 15, "Underwear Power") simply become short stories, which are entertaining and contain excellent dialogue, but have scarce connection to the first ten chapters. Furthermore, chapter 14 is a pointless waste of time. Additionally, in other chapters, such as 10, "Atmosphere," Warhol speaks of art and his preferences regarding space in a room and similar matters, and it is nearly impossible to believe that he really means a word of it. The book is bad. But on the other hand, Warhol never pretended to be a great writer. On the contrary, he admits that he wanted to write books only because many people he knew were writing books (jealousy) and of course he wanted to make money (greed).

In sum, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol may be a bad book by a jealous, greedy, dissembling, upstart artist. But through this bad book, my own opinion of this artist was slowly transformed from one of mild contempt into fascination and then ultimately both awe and respect. Perhaps Tom Wolfe is right, and Andy Warhol is a phony. But I must confess that Warhol won me over. Due to this book, I will now always be forced to query, upon hearing Wolfe's oft-repeated accusation, Warhol is a phony what?

message 3: by Geoffrey (last edited Jul 29, 2018 04:33PM) (new)

Geoffrey Aronson (geaaronson) | 930 comments AW was an excellent commercial illustrator of the nation´s best magazines in the 50´s and propelled himself to major stardom with a surplus of hype, immodesty, and eccentricity, playing to the popular coneption of the "crazy artist"! His work is exceedingly vacuous as he was. The Factory was but another strategy to his legendary strangeness. His movies suck royally and if there is even a minute gravity to his paintings, the movies are total zeroes. Yes, he was a fake with a good aesthetic sense but it takes more than that to be a great artist. He was a zero as a person. Sorry to stomp on your ghost AW but yes, you were a zippo.

message 4: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8385 comments Geoffrey wrote: "AW was an excellent commercial illustrator of the nation´s best magazines in the 50´s and propelled himself to major stardom with a surplus of hype, immodesty, and eccentricity, playing to the popu..."


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