Andy Warhol artist, art, Art criticism, book, Brillo boxes, culture, education, Guy Debord author, Hilton Kramer artcritic, lifestyle, people, Philippe Tretiack author, photos, Professor Morse Peckham, Society of the Spectacle title, The Age of the Avant-Garde title, Universe/Vendome publishing, Victorian Revolutionaries title, writers, writing
When you think you have seen all of Andy Warhol’s America and most books about him, you’ll find another book. This one is exceptionally well printed. It is titled Andy Warhol by author Philippe Tretiack published in the Univers of Art series by Univers/Rizzoli in 1997. Originally published by Editions Assouline in French. Although only 79 pages, it is printed on glossy coated heavy stock.
“Driving around in a Rolls, owning a chateau, an island, diamonds, winning a gold medal or the Nobel Prize is wonderful-in fact, it’s more than that but to have been painted by Andy Warhol is better, much better, perhaps even the best. Warhol is the only artist to have succeeded, in the most profane fashion, in turning anyone into an icon of modern times-the most sacred act.”Here is where I would like to expound on something interesting.
Looking at the boxes in the above picture from the book, a profound statement by Morse Peckham came to mind from his book, Victorian Revolutionaries Speculations on some Heroes of a Culture Crises (1970).
” thus for a pop artists to say that he paints soup cans because he like soup cans is a devastating and indeed shattering comment. For him, only the trivial, the disregarded, the object of culturally low status, can be a stimulus for an affectionate and meaningful response.To make a cardboard box and paint it to look like a Brillo box is hardly different from simply exhibiting a real Brillo box in a gallery. For either, from his point of view, a high price is justifiable. The artist, the implication is, has to his task to create objects of genuine value, and thus his task is to reveal value. That revelation of value is how he earns his living. In terms of culture crisis there are no publicly acceptable criteria for judging what reveals value and what does not. Therefore the only criterion is what the artist finds valuable and revealing of value. He genuinely likes Brillo boxes; to him they are meaningful and redolent of value. Therefore, a price as high as the market will bear is entirely justifiable. It is obvious from this that pop art is in the center of the Romantic tradition, and I believe that it is equally obvious that Andy Warhol, whether he can explain his actions or not, is a genius, not because of what he has done, but because of his decision to do it. Either his penetration into the current state of culture is analytic or intuitive or both;it certainly is profound. This kind of pop artist says, “this is what I like. Under the circumstances I think it quite an achievement to like anything. I reveal to you that affection for the world is still possible.”- end quotation.
Of course, there are many different explanations of Warhol’s art found in the earlier period reviews. Another one in particular (1973) comes to mind for the eloquence with which the author Hilton Kramer expresses his spot on interpretation of Andy Warhol, the artist, as a cultural phenomena. It is equally interesting, in my opinion, as Peckham’s view, which in its entirety goes beyond the scope of this post but is very fascinating reading, especially because I did not in the slightest way expect the characterization of the “Brillo Box Artist” in Peckham’s book.
(Red underlining mine) I believe this is an all encompassing view of the importance of Andy Warhol. The French philosopher and artist Guy Debord uses the following phrase as an opening statement in his revolutionary book The Society of the Spectacle (from the English translation) that sums it up neatly below.