THE NINETEEN SIXTIES
Michael Fried, "New York Letter", Art International 6, no. 10 ( December 1962): 57.
Of all the painters working today in the service -- or thrall -- of a popular icongraphy, Andy Warhol is probably the most single-minded and the most spectacular. His current show at the Stable appears to have been done in a combination paint and silk-screen technique: I'm not sure about this, but it seems as if he laid down areas of bright color first, then printed the silk-screen pattern in black over them and finally used paint again to put in details. The technical result is brilliant, and there are passages of fine, sharp painting as well, though in this latter respect Warhol is inconsistent: he can handle paint well but it is not his chief, nor perhaps even a major concern, and he is capable of showing things that are quite badly painted for the sake of the image they embody. And in fact the success of individual paintings depends only partly (though possibly more than Warhol might like) on the quality of paint-handling. Even more it has to do with the choice of subject matter, with the particular image selected for reproduction -- which lays him open to the danger of an evanescence he can do nothing about. An art like Warhol's is necessarily parasitic upon the myths of its time, and indirectly therefore upon the machinery of fame and publicity that market these myths: and it is not at all unlikely that the myths that move us will be unintelligible (for at best starkly dated) to generations that follow. This is said not to denigrate Warhol's work but to characterize it and the risks it runs -- and, I admit, to register an advance protest against the advent of a generation that will not be as moved by Warhol's beautiful, vulgar, heart-breaking icons of Marilyn Monroe as I am. These I think are the most successful pieces in the show, far