Term Paper: Boundary of Art Andy Warhol

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The Boundary of Art: Andy Warhol

In the middle part of the 20th century, Abstract Expressionism rules

the visual arts scene with a sense of serious experimentation that was in

its own way very constraining. The next generation of artists would appeal

to the media of popular culture as a way to simultaneously be liberated

from the prejudices of Expression and to broaden the palette of commercial

art. Turning concepts such as mass consumerism, the commoditization of

mankind and general materialism into a pointed philosophical statement, the

so-called 'Pop Art' movement would change significantly the both the visual

presentation and intended statement of the work dominating the scene in the

late 1950s and early 1960s. As our research shows, this would be a genuine

transition, as "n the later 1950s, Abstract Expressionism, which had

controlled the trend of art about ten years, ceded to a generation of

artists who experienced popular media: they were artists of Pop Art."

Where Abstract Expressionism was identified with such mercurial

figures as Jackson Pollock, famous for the shapeless splatter paintings

that represent his genre, Pop Art is more commonly associated with such

figures as Andy Warhol (1923-1987), who helped to popularize the theory

that those forms of visual expression often dismissed as commercial design

were in fact a valid form of artistic expression. Pop Artists would

proceed from the notion that the differentiation between fine art and

commercial art is a socioeconomic prejudice which inflates the value of

patrician visual expression over more popular forms. In demonstration of

this belief, Warhol would make himself the center of historical and

artistic debate by using commercial icons, images and media to provide

commentary on society.

1. Different ideas about essence of "art"

Like the Expressionists before him, Warhol attempted to create a new

use for art. In many ways, this was a more democratic way of looking at

artistic expression. Warhol perceived that art was a profession which

required financial compensation, not just for himself, but for purveyors of

visual arts throughout history. It would only be in the patronage of the

wealthy that 'fine artists' would be elevated in their compensation. To

Warhol, this excluded the common man both from creation and from ownership

of appealing artwork. Therefore, he determined to democratize the form by

creating works that could be mass produced. In this way, the earning

potential for the artist would be raised and the cost for the appreciator

could be lowered. Thus, it is understood that Warhol understood the

principles of classical art but philosophically eschewed them. According

to his biography, "it is firmly true that although Warhol studied Fine Art

in Pittsburgh, he was quite interested in advertising and its mechanisms

even as a student." In spite of the fact that Warhol was a successful

illustrator in commercial art, he wanted to create new work using mass-

produced methods, silk screen of illustration; he chose to use the

necessities of life in the mass-produced era. Therefore, Andy Warhol made

new perspective that has combination of both "art" and design.

2. Andy Warhol is an artist who creates and tries new things

One of Warhol's distinguishing features would be his boldness of concept.

Though

he would observe the lessons given by the Abstract Expressionists and

through his own classical education, these would form a counterpoint as he

sought to introduce new ideas to the field. He would succeed in doing so,

not just drawing on the media and images of material culture for his

expression, but even copping its mass production theories in the mechanized

silk-screening that helped to spread his images epidemically through 1960s

New York Indeed, Warhol commanded his own scene where the novelty of his

ideas flourished, with his studio becoming "a favored meeting place for the

artists, actors, dropouts and photographers that Warhol knew, as well as

for other members of the glitterati." In the studio, a lot of works were

created. Andy Warhol expressed images of the canned goods and Coca Cola,

ordinary products for repetitive or reproducible image. John Coplans says

that "the money, Coke, airmail and S&H stamps, glass label and Campbell's

soup can paintings enforce the issue of multiplicity of the image itself,

which as a motif is endlessly repeated." This is demonstrated in the

analysis hereafter:

Image 1: Campbell's Soup Can, 1962 Image 2: 5 Coca-Cola

Bottles, 1962

Perhaps Warhol's most iconic image, the Campbell's Soup can is a statement

on the way that brand names and familiar labels have achieved a sort of

elevated status in society based on our dependency upon consumer goods.

More importantly, it disrupted the formalism and prejudicial seriousness of

the art community, inviting mass culture to understand and interpret his

image.

Image 3: Marylin Monroe, 1967 Image 3: Double Elvis,

1963

Andy Warhol's silkscreens were of a medium that he chose for several

purposes. "Ever since the Marilyn series, Warhol has always used

photographic silkscreens." The method of silk screen that is used to make

prints in quantity was his main method and connects important key points

between the business activity of a capitalistic age that gets profit by

making products in large quantities and selling Warhol's work. Starting

with her death in 1962, Marilyn Monroe became a familiar subject of

Warhol's work. He would use chromatic permutations to recast a nearly

identical image to reflect a limitless range of emotional possibilities.

Warhol's intention was to employ an assembly line effect to depicting

Monroe, who's succumbing to the inhumane pressures of her objectification

was precipitated by the iconography he elucidated. So was this true of

Elvis Presley, here depicted and similarly crushed under the weight of his

own celebrity. Warhol's perspective is distinguished from the conventional

glorification of Monroe or Presley's beauty, instead focusing on the

implications mass consumption and commodification are the primary means to

achieving happiness. Monroe's darling stature, social preeminence and

irreproachable achievement of perfect beauty had rendered her humanity a

separate being from the product for which she was the face. This is the

shred of the woman that Warhol seizes upon, screening the heavily

airbrushed headshot that adorned so many objects through filters of

pointedly unnatural color, presenting the heartbreaking bombshell in garish

fluorescence, absent of person

3. It is wrong to criticize the use of art for commercial value

Art may function without commercial support, but it is highly

unlikely that it will ever be appreciated. Artistic expression and

commercial enterprise are not to be seen as mutually exclusive from one

another. Quite to the contrary, these are often complimentary forces, with

the industrial artists finding ways to make a living in an era where

patronage is rarely done without commercial expectations. Warhol seemed to

predict this age, declaring, "I want to be a machine" and "paintings are

like stock a dealer is like a broker." So, "art" should think like

business if the artist is to survive.

The dismissal of Warhol's art, as well as of commercial design in a

more general sense, is a philosophical and economic prejudice that

overlooks the duality of his message. Indeed, Warhol broke down the

boundary between fine art and commercial art, revealing distinctions

between them as the invocation of false hierarchies. Thus, we can see that

"Warhol's art was never simply a reproduction of a commercial product,

which was a criticism made of his work during his lifetime. Years later we

can consider Warhol's art as one with a distinct style and radical choice

of subject matter and one which has withstood the test of time". As an

artist and as one of the great marketing ideologues in history, Warhol

changed the course of the artistic dialogue and broadened the scope for

that which can be appreciated on its artistic merits without being

discredited by its commercial context.

Bibliography

Bauer, Claudia. Andy Warhol. Nw… [END OF PREVIEW]

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