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Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol

Arthur C. Danto
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Andy Warhol
    Book Description:

    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, relationships with artists such as Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, and the Factory phenomenon. He offers close readings of individual Warhol works, including their social context and philosophical dimensions, key differences with predecessors such as Marcel Duchamp, and parallels with successors like Jeff Koons. Danto brings to bear encyclopedic knowledge of Warhol's time and shows us Warhol as an endlessly multidimensional figure-artist, political activist, filmmaker, writer, philosopher-who retains permanent residence in our national imagination.

    Danto suggests that "what makes him an American icon is that his subject matter is always something that the ordinary American understands: everything, or nearly everything he made art out of came straight out of the daily lives of very ordinary Americans. . . . The tastes and values of ordinary persons all at once were inseparable from advanced art."

    eISBN: 978-0-300-15498-6
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  5. A Note on Notes
    (pp. xix-xxii)
  6. ONE The Window at Bonwit’s
    (pp. 1-23)

    In Victor Bockris’s biographyWarhol, there is a chapter titled “The Birth of Andy Warhol: 1959–61.” This obviously does not refer to Andy Warhol’s birth as a baby, which took place in 1928, in Pittsburgh, to immigrant Ruthenian parents. It refers, rather, to a set of changes in Warhol’s identity—the breakthrough, in effect, through which he became an icon. One of the works that helps visualize the breakthrough is a painting done in 1961, which consists in a greatly enlarged version of a simple black-and-white advertisement of the kind that appears in side columns and back pages of...

  7. TWO Pop, Politics, and the Gap Between Art and Life
    (pp. 24-46)

    There is no clear explanation of why a number of artists in and around New York City in the early 1960s, most of whom were known to one another distantly, if at all, should, each in his own way, begin to make art out of vernacular imagery—cartoon images from syndicated comic strips, or advertising logos from widely used consumer products, or publicity photographs of celebrities like movie stars, or pictures of things bound to be familiar to everyone in America, like hamburgers and Coca-Cola. In Spring 1960 Warhol bought a small drawing of a lightbulb by Jasper Johns at...

  8. THREE The Brillo Box
    (pp. 47-71)

    Because of the success of his first show at the Stable Gallery, Andy attained a degree of celebrity unshared by the other artists in the Pop movement: it in fact outlasted the movement itself, which was as much a cultural craze as an art movement, based on brashness and novelty. His productive career took a direction very different from that of any of his peers. It was not the typical career of the Artist in his Studio, producing a body of work to be shown at regular intervals at a gallery, harvesting critical reviews and sales to important collectors. More...

  9. FOUR Moving Images
    (pp. 72-90)

    One of the few works of fiction I am aware of based on Andy and his Factory—Who Killed Andrei Warhol?—has the form of a diary kept by a Soviet journalist who arrives in America in early 1968 to cover what he is certain will be the inevitable revolution. By that time, the Factory had been moved from Forty-seventh Street to a building on Union Square, which also housed the headquarters of the American Communist Party. The comically muddled diarist is convinced that “Andrei” is a proletarian artist, whose art is the real Socialist Realism. “He is a socialist...

  10. FIVE The First Death
    (pp. 91-119)

    The story of life in New York City is the story of real estate, and real estate, accordingly, is as absorbing a narrative topic as love: the story of where one lives or might have lived is as compelling as the story of how you met the person you live with—or, alas, no longer live with. That is the premise of Tama Janowitz’s comic masterpiece,Slaves of New York, wryly recounted in the first person by a downtown woman somewhat older than a sullen painter whose fictional name is “Stash”—and whose name in real life is Ronnie Cutrone,...

  11. SIX Andy Warhol Enterprises
    (pp. 120-134)

    It is often said that Valerie Solanas’s attack was a dividing line in Andy Warhol’s life, and that he became a different artist in consequence of the violence, which left him momentarily dead and permanently traumatized. There truly is a difference between the work before 1968 and what he did after his recovery. The first period really changed art history philosophically. It would be difficult to argue this for the latter period.

    Counterfactuals are notoriously difficult to validate, but one cannot but wonder what Andy’s artistic life would have been like had Valerie been a more easily mollified and less...

  12. SEVEN Religion and Common Experience
    (pp. 135-148)

    Andy had, by nature, a philosophical mind. Many of his most important works are like answers to philosophical questions, or solutions to philosophical puzzles. Much of this is lost on many viewers of his work, since philosophy itself is not widely cultivated outside universities, but in truth most of the philosophical knowledge needed to appreciate Warhol’s stunning contributions did not exist until he made the art in question. Much of modern aesthetics is more or less a response to Warhol’s challenges, so in an important sense he really was doing philosophy by doing the art that made him famous. In...

  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 149-150)
  14. Index
    (pp. 151-162)