Friday Dec 05, 2003

Factory Rejects a la Pop Art

To all the collectors who feel they got ripped off with “fake” art from Andy Warhol:

A recent report in Vanity Fair stated that as many as one in six Warhol works is a fake. According to the expose, works that Warhol “discussed or produced in the company of Factory assistants have been denied (as being authentic by the Warhol Estate), despite multiple affidavits from those assistants.”

The question remains: Was Andy even present when those art pieces were made in his New York City studio, known as the Factory? 

Andy Warhol, like Henry Ford who reduced craft to the dehumanizing assembly line, made art a profitable factory enterprise—recasting iconic and mundane images for mass consumption. Since the public mood was corralled into buying advertising during the 50s and 60s, Warhol, and others of that era, sold it to them as Pop Art—a style of art that explores the everyday imagery of contemporary consumer culture where unique lost its value. Common sources for images include advertisements, consumer product packaging, celebrities, and comic strips.

Was Pop Art offensive, evil, anti-abstract expressionism, or a joke? No, no, no, and no. The issue is none of these labels. But is it art? This is also the wrong question. Pop art is art. The smart question is: Where did the art come from? Does Pop Art feed the soul, or is it conceptually outrageously expensive wallpaper?

I am drawn to art that is magic, art that does not need ideas, or to make a statement. This is a distinction, not a value judgment, or a comparison. There is room for all types of art and there is an art to knowing what you are looking at. Or, what’s the point? 

To all those disgruntled Warhol art patrons, I say: Next time, dare to be naive and invest the time necessary to know what art is before you plunk down all that moolah for what could fool ya.

This brouhaha, this tempest in a silkscreen factory has little to with Andy, and a lot to do with good old greed and stupidity.»

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