As I was walking back to my office during lunch, I passed a framing shop with a lot of junk in the window – “sexy” pictures, sports images, that sort of thing – and a four-panel image of a smiling child’s face done a la Warhol, like the image here. Who’d’a thunk it, but it is a popular thing – creating a Warhol image of your favorite photo, like putting your kid’s face on your T-shirt. You can do it here!
What got me going was the dizzying irony of it all. The utterly unbearable weight of all the self-referentiality. Warhol runs The Factory where he makes ‘art’ by churning out prints of ‘found’ images. He ‘ironizes’ art, or so the critics said. Did he care, or did he just have fun, and enjoy making lots of money too? His images become so famous that they are “popular” in the truest sense. Now people, wanting to add creative cachet to their pics dress them up in Warhol’s ‘style’ to make them seem cool and artsy. Anyway, it’s so decorative.
Of course, Andy understood decorative – that’s all he cared about. He didn’t give a fig for art, so it’s funny that he is the Artist that so many think of now. Art rejecting art and pretending to be life so that years later life can embrace this antithesis of itself and call it art. Truly, we are in the fun-house of images and culture…
…but has it ever been any different? Isn’t that how visual and literary culture change? It just happens faster now. And there is less barrier between the haute culture and everyday culture. It has always been a dreamscape of images and references.