Andy Warhol (Icons of America)
Arthur C. Danto
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In a work of great wisdom and insight, art critic and philosopher Arthur Danto delivers a compact, masterful tour of Andy Warhol’s personal, artistic, and philosophical transformations. Danto traces the evolution of the pop artist, including his early reception, relationships with artists such as Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, and the Factory phenomenon. He offers close readings of individual Warhol works, including their social context and philosophical dimensions, key differences with predecessors such as Marcel Duchamp, and parallels with successors like Jeff Koons. Danto brings to bear encyclopedic knowledge of Warhol’s time and shows us Warhol as an endlessly multidimensional figure—artist, political activist, filmmaker, writer, philosopher—who retains permanent residence in our national imagination.
Danto suggests that "what makes him an American icon is that his subject matter is always something that the ordinary American understands: everything, or nearly everything he made art out of came straight out of the daily lives of very ordinary Americans. . . . The tastes and values of ordinary persons all at once were inseparable from advanced art."
way to bring to the muddles of aesthetics the clarities of high analytical philosophy. Without Warhol, I could never have written The Transfiguration of the Commonplace. This book accordingly is the acknowledgment of a debt. I never met Andy Warhol, though I stood next to him at the opening of an exhibition of a body of prints—Myths—at the Ronald Feldman Gallery in Soho, while he autographed an announcement of the show for my new wife, Barbara Westman. Occasionally I caught a glimpse of him at a
addition to Warhol, Fremont, and Monroe, a whole production team: a production manager, a production coordinator, a number of production assistants, editors, graphic artists, music researchers, composers, as well as the stars. Warhol had come a long way from what he was able to do single-handedly with a Norelco I camera in 1965. His TV attained a quality that justified its being shown in an MTV time slot. But the productive capabilities of the Factory were probably too limited to go much further,
allotment of talent may have given them hope for stardom, and who had been brought to the Silver Factory by Malanga or by Linich, who had access to different pools of recruits, or by Andy himself, who spotted what he thought might be talent at the nightly parties he attended. Billy Name makes an appearance on Ric Burns’s four-hour television special on Warhol, aired in 2006, in which he declares, with a kind of gleeful cackle, that he was the one responsible for the downtown presence in the
themselves, which we would hear if we listened to the tapes. The book can certainly be considered avant-garde literature (the huge “A” at the beginning of the book is obviously meant to remind the reader of a typographical peculiarity of Ulysses). But it does not do what Warhol meant for it to do, namely, give us a sense of Ondine’s wit! Compare A with the voice of “lui” in Diderot’s masterpiece, Rameau’s Nephew, who knows that he is gifted but not a genius like his uncle, though no one—and
individual works, 67–68 literature about, 67–68 massive presence of, 68 value of, 69. See also “What is art?” controversy Buffalo Bob, 128 Burns, Ric, 70, 94 Cabanne, Pierre, 56 Cage, John, 30, 54 Camouflage Last Supper (Warhol), 144–145 Campbell’s Soup Can(s) (Warhol), 25, 32, 34–36, 37, 41, 52, 81, 105, 134, 147. See also subject matter of Warhol’s works: Campbell Soup cans capitalism, x, xii, 72–73, 117 Castelli Gallery, New York City/Leo Castelli, 14, 24, 25, 28, 70, 71, 106,