Andy Warhol, Self Portrait, 1986, Yellow
The images that come to mind when one utters the name of pop artist Andy Warhol are mainstream media’s skewed representation of a gaunt, pale, weird and moody artist made famous by his clever interpretations of Marilyn Monroe, Mickey Mouse and Campbell’s Soup cans.
To say the above mentioned three pieces are the sum total of this man’s life’s work would be far from the truth and, in all honestly, grossly unfair. In studying Warhol’s background it is safe to say that, yes, his idiosyncrasies were perceived as eccentric and…with good reason! Andy was quirky!
Unfortunately, it is this fact that far too often overshadows this pop icon’s legacy. What we are left with, sadly, is a caricature; mere fragments of the truth.
owever, when you stop and think…fragments are all we really know about anything, anyplace and anybody at any given time. Why should history’s approach to Warhol be any different? In fact, if one changes their perspective these cracks in (false) reality can, in some strange way, be good. Karma has funny a way of using these types of situations to its advantage by casting the light of truth into places that would otherwise be left in complete darkness.
So, fragments are not all that bad. They are thought provoking and entice folks to ponder and to search. Fragments compel us to ask questions. Why did everyone think Warhol was so strange? Was he really moody? Is there more to his work than the gimmicky facade of clever commercial art? Who was Andy Warhol, really?
Luckily Warhol was well aware of the fact that most people found him peculiar and, so it was the fragments themselves that provided a venue for his 1975 piece entitled The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (from A to B and Back again). In a down to earth and, most importantly, honest tone, the artist writes from the heart about art, drugs, sex, love, and fame. Brimming with introspection it is as though Warhol is simply sharing his thoughts in conversation with a trusted friend. Devoid of pretenses, it is obvious he was not trying to impress the masses…it was just Andy speaking his mind. Humbly and with an undercurrent of vulnerability, he was simply being himself.
Decades later many still argue that Warhol continues to be an enigma despite the book. Whatever your personal opinion may be, one thing is for sure…Andy Warhol, like many of us, was just a person wrestling with inner demons.
The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (from A to B and Back again) can be purchased at Borders Bookstores in the Buffalo area for $14.99. Original Warhol prints and photographs are on permanent collection at Buffalo's renowned Albright-Knox Art Gallery.
Take a peek at both and decide for yourself.
*WAIT! Don't go! Don't forget to view the slideshow at the bottom of the page!
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