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Who is Andy Warhol [2]?

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We continue our brief acquaintance with this scandalous mastermind of the 20th century. 

Andy and the topic of Death

And the next point on our list is essential. Andy Warhol was obsessed with death and any related subjects.”I guess it was the big plane crash picture, the front page of the newspaper:129 Die. I was also painting the Marilyns. I realized that everything I was doing must have been Death. It was Christmas or Labor Day – a holiday – and every time you turned on the radio they said something like “4 million are going to die.”That started it. But when you see a gruesome picture over and over again, it really doesn’t have any effect.” he said in his interview to the Art News in 1963. 

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During that time he was working on the Death and Disaster series, paintings and prints based on the newspaper cuts. He was interested not only in the depiction of death in the media, but in the changing perception of images’ meaning through the constant repetition of them. The mass media had changed the way we perceive world completely, and Warhol had a feeling of an upcoming post-information era in those early years. 

Andy and the Empire State Building 

The passion for repetitive images was presented not only in Warhol’s art works, but in his video works as well. We can easily put Warhol on the pedestal of the First American Underground Video Artist. He was a pioneer in these sphere, and had made quite an impact on the video art. His films were quite similar to his still video portraits. Usually, movies were incredibly long and concentrated on one object or topic. Like sleep, for example. Or Empire State Building. Eight hour long film Empire captured famous skyscraper in the static “typical Warhol” framework. The trick was, that it was static, nothing had moved there, yet, it is a moving picture. So, he basically illustrated the term “moving picture” with the simplicity and intellectual elegance peculiar to all of his works. 

Andy and Plagiarism 

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Warhol was often accused of plagiarism and simply copying the images and products into his works. The creation of his studio The Factory had poured even more oil on the flames. Warhol always craved to achieve a distance between him and his works; it is known that some pieces consist of literary just a few touches made by the author himself. But these debates are not new to the art history. Let’s not forget about the tradition of having some disciples that helped their Master to finish art pieces. Let us also remember great French sculptor Francoise Rodin whose works were usually finished by his students. And, of course, Duchamp and his readymades, real life objects with no alterations from the author. Good outlook on this problem is given in the book  “The Originality of the Avant-Garde” written by the American art-critic  

Rosalind E. Krauss. It gives the whole story behind the problems of copying, originality, and the relations between the work of art and its creator from the times of Ancient Greece till the times of Modernism. 

Andy and some movies about him

Being such a significant character in the pop-culture, Warhol often becomes a movie character. Here are some films that will give you yet another glimpse on the events that surrounded him and his art. 

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There is a beautiful film Factory Girl about Eddie Sedgwick, Warhol’s first Superstar and the main star of many of his films and still portraits. She was Andy’s muse for quite a long time. The movie shows the fashion and aesthetics of that period, as well as The Factory and its members.   

Another good one is I Shot Andy Warhol. The movie is about an event that have changed artists’s life forever. After the incident with shooting, close friends and relatives said that Warhol never felt the same as before. 

Andy and modern times

So now we know some interesting facts about Andy Warhol. And while most people still under-appreciate the intellectual constituent of his oeuvre, there is one solid witness to his success and tremendous impact on the modern world. And that witness is time. Time is the best examiner of any artist’s influence and significance. And Warhol did not fail this exam. 

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