Partners In Design


The Warhol War

I touched upon this issue lightly a week or so back when I posted my pop-art inspired poster set of thought bubbles. One of those if you remember included the message " I Hate Warhol". In that post I treaded on my issues with having such an opposing view to one of Pop-Art's most recognized artist's. Usually, I'll state my opinion and proceed to get mauled by Warhol supporters. Last night was no different. As usual, Warhol lead me into another heated debate with a good friend about my lack of understanding for the ideas of Warhol.

Let me begin by stating that I'm not entirely one-sided on this issue. I think that Andy Warhol did in fact have his place in art history. I think that he created his own impression on the art world, and he has no replacement. He's a pivotal aspect of the progression of art, and for that I respect Warhol. Aside from that, though, I find little about his work to care for. From my personal point of view, I just feel that Warhol's reasoning behind the creation of his art was extremely ingenuine and lackluster. From what i've read and seen of this man, his concerns were much more in the vanity of what it was to be an artist than the act of creating it. His primary goal from it all ( and i've heard him quoted on this before ) was to ultimately gain a celebrity status. I simply don't see eye to eye with that philosophy and it makes me have less appreciation for the work he created. While he had a couple of pieces that strike me, the vision behind them was blank.

Last night, in carefully choosing my words, I presented my view. I made sure to cover my diploamtic bases and reiterate that I still realized his contributions. This attempt wasn't succesful and yet again, I was pitted against a Warhol fan. The thing I came to realize is that a fan of Warhol is not ready to just accept a less than positive review of his work. They consider Warhol a creative genius mastermind who really changed the way the world looked at everything. And although this may not be entirely wrong, I think the man is given way too much credit. Throughout the conversation, the main argument presented was as such: Because I did not like Warhol's work, It meant I did not Understand his work and vision. Therefore making my opinion void. If i understood his vision, then I would have loved his work. But is this all so true?
Can I not understand someone's vision and still not appreciate their work? Or does that rule simply apply to the work of Warhol?

Furthermore, my friend (who knows my artistic influences), could not understand how I could be such an avid supporter of a fellow pop-art icon of the time, Roy Lichtenstein, but not appreciate the work of Warhol. My view is that i've never once stated my distaste for Pop-Art. I think Pop-Art is a great movment in art history and has great influences in our day to day even now. To me, Lichtensetin and Warhol are very polar opposite in terms of their Pop-Art subject matter. Where Lictenstein focused much more on the relatability factor and the emotional qualities of art, Warhol chose objects and vain subjects. Once again, I have a particular opinion but I'm not completely close off, so dont hang me yet.

Although the conversation ultimately ended with both of us retreating to our respective corners and realizing that neither side would win, I still felt a lack of closure. I like to consider myself a guy who's very open to changing an opinion if given the right argument against my stance. I think as humans, and being so different, we can sometimes be blind to the reality of things. So i like to keep open of mind. But with this issue, time and again, I left without anything to ponder. I wasn't given a solid reason to change my view, only that "I just didn't understand him."

I don't know where you guys stand on the Warhol's body of work, but I'm gonna open a couple of things to you for discussion. Firstly, what do you think about Warhol and his artistic contributions? Secondly, Do you feel his reasoning/vision was as intense as most make it? And lastly, If you are a fan, do you have any good supports on your appreciation for his work? I would love to gain more perspectives and see what everyone feels. I think discussion topics would be really great for us to continue to develop, as we all have very strong personalities and views. It'll help gain perspective and knowledge through debate or discussion.

Before I cease writing more to this already massive post, I wanted to leave with one statement that my friend said in retrospect about the conversation, as we began to discuss the differences between a more artistic design (such as Graphic) and functional design (such as Architecture). He stated that his appreciation of Warhol came from his personality and way of life (He's an architect and is much more rooted in the logical and functional way of thinking about design and art) whereas my taste in art was much more rooted in my personality. He said because i tend to make decisions based on pure emotion, I am more likely to shy away from art that has no obvious meaning. This isn't alltogether untrue, but I thought it was an interesting observation that could be considered.

"Personally, I feel that in my own work I wanted to look programmed or impersonal but I don't really believe I am being impersonal when I do it. And I don't think you could do this."
Roy Lichtenstein

"Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art."
Andy Warhol


Paul said...

I like Warhol's work- but not enough to defend or even talk about it for more than 30 seconds. Lichtenstein's body of work is more interesting in general- but again, I don't think I could carry on a conversation or argument about him for more than 30 seconds.

Paul said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alexandra said...

I agree that both Warhol and Lichtenstein's contribution to art was immense. I believe that Roy was more versatile and that his subject matter is more interesting to me. Not that there aren't things Warhol did that don't call out to me, but I think he repeated the same process too many times. He should have gone farther, instead of reaching for his eventual celebrity status. You should have purer reasons for doing art, not that money isn't a good reason, it just shouldn't be the only thing.