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Andy's Hunky Dory

Andy Warhol, we are reminded, would have been 75 years old today. He is coming in for his share of, shall we say, cogent reappraisal. Here for example is Terry Teachout in the Wall Street Journal:

It always seemed faintly silly for Clement Greenberg, the pre-eminent art critic of his day, to have called Warhol a purveyor of 'nice small art' ('The soup cans I think are especially good on account of the color and when he groups them'), or for Robert Hughes to have declared that 'most of Warhol's best work was done over a span of about six years, finishing in 1968.' That's how you talk about artists, and Andy Warhol wasn't one. He was, instead, a preternaturally shrewd operator who transformed Marcel Duchamp's anti-art into glossy gewgaws suitable for mail-order merchandising. He silk-screened money.
Link courtesy of (where else?) About Last Night

At The New Criterion's blog Roger Kimball, typically for him, sees the Abyss behind the joke:
We are told to refrain from speaking ill of the dead. But there is a sense in which Andy Warhol is not dead: he lives on in all the insouciant trash that populates vast neighborhoods of the contemporary art world--the pandering to mass media and advertising culture: that's pure Warhol; the 'lifestyle radicalism' that extols pop icons, gutter celebrities, weary denizens of the demimonde: that too is pure Warhol. Warhol helped to put the giggle into art: it seemed like fun at first, but soon revealed itself as a corrosive, a thoroughly decadent rictus. In short, Warhol's legacy has been disastrous.
Elsewhere, Julian Spalding of the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art, without actually mentioning Warhol, pegs the legacy he left for later artistic generations in a piece for spiked-culture:
There is a cynicism in the heart of much that passes for art today, which sits oddly with its claim to be art. After all, art has to be positive, even when it deals with the most depressing aspects of experience, because if it isn't what is the point of making it? But far from seeking a positive response to its work, the establishment art of today actually stimulates a negative reaction.
Art is somehow like New Labour as well, but you'll have to read the piece to find out more. Link courtesy ArtsJournal.

For my part, I will honor Andy by meditating on what David Bowie sang about him on Bowie's own treatise on art and Fame, Hunky Dory:

Andy walking, Andy tired
Andy take a little snooze
Tie him up when he's fast asleep
Send him on a pleasant cruise
When he wakes up on the sea
He's sure to think of me and you
He'll think about paint
and he'll think about glue
What a jolly boring thing to do.


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