Andy Warhol

By Jolles, Claudia | Artforum International, April 1993 | Go to article overview

Andy Warhol


Jolles, Claudia, Artforum International


"Truth lies in the surface, deep in the surface." This comment by Robert Wilson about his theatrical productions is also applicable to Andy Warhol's oeuvre--especially to the works of the '60s on display here. Warhol privileged the surface--the surface of the work itself and of the age of the commodity. Numerous subjects more readily recognizable in their later, slicker versions are prefigured crudely here in pencil, and then painted, as in the antique telephone which floats in front of abstract doodles in brown and violet. In a second version from the same year, Warhol's naturalism has become an abstraction. The works in this exhibition are transitional pieces in which many techniques converge on one canvas, as in the painting of the crumpled Campbell soup can which combines rubber stamping, stenciling, and hand painting. How radically he departed from any personal signature style is evidenced in the series "Flowers," 1964.

One senses the style of a graphic designer in these works--one who appropriates the laws of advertising by using dynamic cropping, seductive glances, agit-prop compositions, and propagandistic conditioning through repetition. …

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