andy warhol




The pop art movement began in London during the 1950\'s and then
quickly spread throughout nearly all of the industrialized world. Although the
artists did have some overlapping styles, pop art focuses more on the subject and
less on style, which was left up to each individual artist. The main themes that is
evident in all pop art revolves around modern social values. The style in which
these values were portrayed varied depending on the culture and artist. Critic
Barbara Rose claimed in her review of a Pop Art show that Pop Art, " I wish to
disagree with the assumption that pop art is an art style. It is not; these artists
are linked only through their subject matter, not through stylistic similarities. This
makes it possible to talk of the iconography or attitudes of Pop art, but not of Pop
art as an art style, as one would speak of Baroque or Cubism." (Bondo, 1998)
In America, Pop Art used the images and techniques of mass media,
advertising, and popular culture, often in an ironic way to play off the social issues
of popular culture. The art form developed rapidly once reaching the U.S. New
York City, often viewed as the epicenter of American popular culture, fostered the
growth of many of the most highly regarded pop artists, including Warhol,
Rosenquist, Segal and Lichtenstein. California, namely San Fransisco was
recognized as the Pop Art capital of the west coast (Bourdon, 1989, 12)


Subject

The subject of Warhol\'s work revolved around various American social
issues of the mid-century. As America exited from World War II and entered the
Baby Boom era, the culture had become decidedly sanitized. Some of this could
be attributed to the Cold War and fear of the "enemy". The flight to suburbia,
mass production, conservative family values, and development of new social
standards also played a major role in this "Leave-it-to-Beavering" of the nation.
This was also the period of time where admass culture had its beginnings.
Warhol played off the irony of these issues in such works as Campbell\'s Soup
Cans and his famous Brillo Boxes (Bourdon, 1989, 34)
During the 1960\'s, the nation began to see rapid changes. The space
program was under way, the Vietnam war was in action, Kennedy was killed,
racial equity became and issue and the "hippie" movement was at its peak;
spreading its trademark ideals of free love, drugs and music. Although Warhol
continued his focus on the irony of admass culture, he began to branch out into
new territory. He began to print his Flowers series, which had a decidedly
psychedelic flavor to them, matching the flavor of the current social scene
(Bourdon, 1989, 42)
As the 70\'s disco scene came to rise, Warhol\'s work followed. Warhol
himself frequented many of New York City\'s hottest, most glamorous nightclubs.
Studio 54, famed for its exclusivity, was one of Warhol\'s favorites. It is at this
period that Warhol became totally engulfed with creating works of other people,
mostly celebrities. Ever since childhood, Warhol had been obsessed with
celebrity life and fame. Some of Warhol\'s most famous works were of celebrities.
Many were chic designers such as Halson, Diane von Fursenberg, Jean Paul
Gaultier and Yves Saint Laurent (Bourdon, 1989, 53)
Death and disaster was also a subject that Warhol worked with, especially
during the early 60\'s. These subjects contrasted somewhat with his others, for
they seemed to be far more gruesome and vulgar. However, it was said that
these were not intentionally vulgar, but again a clip from popular culture. When
confronted about the morbidity, Andy said "Every time you turn on the T.V. or
radio, they say something like \'4 million are going to die\'. That started it." Warhol
frequently remarked about news broadcasts that projected deaths. For example,
a news program may project that 50,000 people will die in alcohol related
automobile accidents. To most, it seemed as if the media were relating this as a
warning. To Warhol, this was a "goal to be met." Also, Warhol was obsessed
with the way vulgarity looses its effect after view multiple times. This is the
reason that he multiplied car accident pictures many times. Many of his famous
works, such as Car Crashes, Race Riots,