The Critical Response to Andy Warhol

By Alan R. Pratt | Go to book overview

Since I was shot, everything is such a dream to me. I don't know what anything is about. Like I don't even know whether or not I'm alive or -- whether -- I died. It's sad. Like I can't say hello or good-bye to people. 13

Warhol was the first artist of simulation. He seemed to desire an existence of representation tenuously connected to being as cyborg. Now that his body is gone, he can reach even higher planes of achievement, as did Elvis or Marilyn after their respective bodies disappeared from the realm of the living. Warhol was a futurologist more compelling and longer lived than his contemporary Marshall McLuhan. He saw, as clearly as any science fiction writer or media theorist, the great expanse that spectacle would cover, and sought to establish a place in this artificial empire. Authenticity and liberation were empty signs that were dead on arrival in the 60's "revolution," and Warhol was careful to avoid such traps with his strategy of total surrender. And in spite of all the underground trappings with which he surrounded himself, Warhol became its very antithesis. If Warhol was a social critic of any kind, it emerged incidentally, yet like all chaotic systems, quite deterministically. Like his celebrity colleagues Elvis and Marilyn, Warhol demonstrated, perhaps by martyrdom, that being consumed by one's own image(s) is pathetic. I have to agree with Warhol on this final quote; not being able to say hello or good-bye to people is quite sad. At the same time, perhaps such thoughts are only more nostalgia for a reinstatement of originality and authenticity, and what Warhol really prepared us for was the condition of cynicism as the center of lived experience


NOTES
1.
Lippard Lucy, Pop Art. New York: Oxford University Press, 1966.
2.
Ibid, 99.
3.
A transcript of this panel is provided in The Work of Andy Warhol. Gary Garrels, ed. Seattle: Bay Press, 1989, 124-39.
4.
Ibid, 136.
5.
Ibid, 137.
6.
Debord Guy. Society of the Spectacle. Detroit: Black and Red Press, 1977 (revised edition).

-259-

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The Critical Response to Andy Warhol
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Series Foreword xiii
  • Preface xv
  • Notes xxv
  • CHRONOLOGY xxix
  • 1 - The Nineteen Sixties 1
  • 2 - The Nineteen Seventies 59
  • Notes 60
  • Notes 73
  • 3 The Nineteen Eighties 123
  • Notes 132
  • Notes 158
  • Notes 186
  • 4 - The Nineteen Nineties 239
  • Notes 247
  • Works Cited 248
  • Notes 259
  • Notes 265
  • Works Cited 267
  • Note 274
  • Works Cited 274
  • Notes 286
  • SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 291
  • Index 297
  • About the Editor *
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