Art History Andy Warhol
by
John J. Curley
  • LAST REVIEWED: 10 May 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 30 January 2014
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199920105-0031

Introduction

Andy Warhol is one of the most important and influential artists of the 20th century. He is known especially for his silkscreened paintings and experimental films but also for the innovative and controversial ways in which he merged the worlds of art and commerce. Born in 1928 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to working-class immigrants from present-day Slovakia, Warhol was a sickly child with more than a passing interest in celebrities and other mass cultural forms. He studied “pictorial design” at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie-Mellon University), a series of courses that combined fine arts training with more applied skills such as commercial illustration. In 1949, Warhol moved to New York, where he established himself as a successful commercial artist, producing illustrations for clients primarily in the fashion industry. Although he had small gallery exhibitions in the 1950s with works not unlike his commercial output, Warhol began producing paintings in 1960 based on consumer goods (such as Campbell’s soup cans) and other mass media sources (such as newspaper front pages) that were widely viewed as a reaction against the seriousness, existential drama, and machismo attached to abstract expressionism. Alongside artists such as Roy Lichtenstein and James Rosenquist, Warhol was soon considered to be one of the leaders of what came to be known as pop art. But Warhol’s embrace of the photomechanical silkscreen process in 1962 differentiated him from his peers; by producing paintings through photography, he effectively removed notions of handicraft and traditional notions of authorship from his paintings. That he called his studio the “Factory,” where he produced many portraits of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and canvasses based on press images of suicides and car accidents, only solidified this image. By the mid-1960s, Warhol had turned his attention to experimental filmmaking; his works included Empire, an eight-hour static portrait of the Empire State Building from 1964. After surviving an assassination attempt in 1968, he largely turned to making celebrity and commissioned portraits in the early 1970s as well as more commercial films and his monumental silkscreened images of Mao Zedong. In his final decade, he produced a diverse body of paintings, which continued his interest in subjects drawn from popular culture, even as Warhol became more explicit in addressing questions of abstraction in painting. He died in 1987, following routine gallbladder surgery at the age of 58. In addition to his films and paintings, Warhol’s appearance, persona, and quips (such as “In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes”) are widely known.

General Overviews and Biographies

A number of books provide useful overviews of Warhol’s life and work. The standard biographies are Bockris 2003 and Bourdon 1995, the latter generously illustrated with many color plates. Kostenbaum 2001 and Danto 2010 offer more concise biographies of the artist, each taking different departure points. Scherman and Dalton 2009 and Colacello 1990 offer lively biographic portraits of the artist during particular phases of his successful career, Scherman and Dalton 2009 in the 1960s and Colacello 1990 in the 1970s and 1980s. Hickey, et al. 2009 provides an archival and artistic overview of the artist, complete with a wealth of illustrations and short, thematic essays. Ketner 2013 is a solid, yet very brief, overview of Warhol’s entire artistic career. Warhol is not always praised; Hughes 1984 is the most thoughtful of the scathing critiques of the artist. It is important to note that, despite Warhol’s popularity and importance, he has inspired few scholarly monographs that embrace his entire career.

  • Bockris, Victor. Warhol: The Biography. New York: De Capo, 2003.

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    Written by a Warhol friend and Factory insider, this is the standard biography of the artist’s personal and professional life. Its lively account shies away from art historical issues, and it is sparsely illustrated.

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  • Bourdon, David. Warhol. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1995.

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    As a close friend to the artist and an active art critic in the 1960s and 1970s, Bourdon gives equal treatment to Warhol’s life and art. Richly illustrated with both his art works and materials from his archives, it is valuable as a biography and as an introduction to Warhol’s artistic career.

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  • Colacello, Bob. Holy Terror: Andy Warhol Close Up. New York: HarperCollins, 1990.

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    Written by a former editor of Warhol’s Interview magazine, this trade volume provides keen observations and a lively, intimate portrait of the artist running the Factory in the 1970s and 1980s. Colacello explores, among other things, the artist’s social awkwardness, his business acumen, and various bits of gossip surrounding Warhol and his friends and associates.

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  • Danto, Author C. Andy Warhol. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010.

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    Part of Yale University Press’s Icons of America series, this short biography considers Warhol’s broad appeal, positioning his artistic works as both social criticism and philosophy.

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  • Hickey, Dave, Kenneth Goldsmith, David Dalton, et al. Andy Warhol: Giant Size. London: Phaidon, 2009.

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    Published in two versions, a huge and cumbersome volume (weighing 15 pounds) and a more manageable “regular size,” this book features some 2,000 photographs documenting all phases of Warhol’s life and career (many of which are in color). Augmented by short essays by an array of commentators, including critic Dave Hickey and poet Kenneth Goldsmith, this volume serves as a comprehensive visual introduction to the life and work of Warhol.

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  • Hughes, Robert. “The Rise of Andy Warhol.” In Art after Modernism: Rethinking Representation. Edited by Brian Wallis, 45–58. New York: New Museum, 1984.

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    This is the classic take-down of Warhol, issued by one of the critical voices in the art world of the 1980s and 1990s. Hughes rebuts the idea of Warhol as a radical artist, suggesting, instead, that the artist’s obsession with fame and money, not ideas or talent, drove his practice, resulting in meaningless and empty works.

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  • Ketner, Joseph D. Andy Warhol. London: Phaidon, 2013.

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    Generously illustrated with works from Warhol and other period artists, this book’s very short but incisive text considers the entirety of Warhol’s career from an art historical perspective.

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  • Kostenbaum, Wayne. Andy Warhol. New York: Penguin, 2001.

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    Part of the Penguin Lives series, this slim biography by a noted poet and cultural critic purports to get beyond Warhol’s indifference to find in his life and work an erotic, queer, and deeply human body.

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  • Scherman, Tony, and David Dalton. Pop: The Genius of Andy Warhol. New York: HarperCollins, 2009.

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    A collaborative work of a music writer and an art writer, this biography tackles Warhol’s life and work in the 1960s. With access to his full archives in Pittsburgh, the authors chart his transformation from commercial artist to fine artist to cultural icon by the end of the decade. This is a breezy trip full of anecdotal detail, but it lacks an art historical bite.

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  • Smith, Patrick. Andy Warhol’s Art and Films. Ann Arbor: UMI Research, 1986.

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    Based on extensive interviews with Warhol’s friends and associates as well as on materials in Warhol’s own archives (before the artist’s death), this text absolutely brims with biographic, contextual, and artistic details concerning all phases of Warhol’s career. The book’s appendix (longer than its text) offers verbatim transcriptions of Smith’s invaluable interviews with Warhol associates.

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Catalogue Raisonnés

Considering Warhol’s vast production of paintings, films, prints, and even sculpture, it is a gargantuan task to catalogue his total artistic output. While Feldman and Defendi 2003 documents Warhol’s complete prints since 1961, the catalogue raisonné projects of his films and painting/sculpture are still works in progress. Frei and Printz 2002, Frei and Printz 2004, and Printz and King-Nero 2010 record the artist’s complete paintings and sculptures from 1961 until 1974. Each volume divides Warhol’s works into series, with each entry providing provenance, known source materials, process, etc. While prohibitively expensive, these books are an indispensable resource for any serious research on Warhol. Produced in association with the Andy Warhol Foundation, these volumes, it is important to note, only feature works authenticated by this body. (For insights into this controversial process, see Dormant 2011, cited under Reception, Influence, and Market.) Angell 2006 documents all of Warhol’s so-called screen tests, largely static film portraits of friends and cultural figures. (The untimely death of Callie Angell in 2010 will certainly delay the work of this important film project.)

  • Angell, Callie. Andy Warhol Screen Tests: The Films of Andy Warhol: Catalogue Raisonné. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2006.

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    This initial volume of the film catalogue raisonné deals with his 472 “screen tests” made in the years 1964–1966. These short filmic portraits—shot with a static camera and a largely static subject—feature period celebrities, Factory regulars, and other figures. The volume not only identifies and explores each sitter’s biography and relationship to Warhol, but also provides a critical and robust introduction to the series and Warhol’s filmmaking more broadly.

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  • Feldman, Frayda, and Claudia Defendi. Andy Warhol Prints: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1962–1987. 3d ed. New York: D.A.P., 2003.

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    This volume purports to catalogue all of Warhol’s published and unpublished series of prints. Short framing essays by Donna de Salvo and Arthur Danto discuss the vital importance of printmaking and its processes to Warhol’s anti-hierarchical and radical conception of art making.

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  • Frei, Georg, and Neil Printz, eds. The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné. Vol. 1, Paintings and Sculpture, 1961–1963. London: Phaidon, 2002.

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    This copiously illustrated and well researched volume attempts to chart all of Warhol’s early paintings and sculptures (1961–1963). During these years the artist produced his most famous paintings: the Campbell’s soup cans, the Marilyns, and his Death and Disaster series, among others.

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  • Frei, Georg, and Neil Printz, eds. The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné. Vols. 2A and 2B, Paintings and Sculptures, 1964–1969. London: Phaidon, 2004.

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    These volumes record Warhol’s complete production from 1964 until the end of the decade. Material covered includes his well-known paintings of Jacqueline Kennedy, his Flowers series, and his Brillo box sculptures.

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  • Printz, Neil, and Sally King-Nero, eds. The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné. Vol. 3, Paintings and Sculptures, 1970–1974. London: Phaidon, 2010.

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    This volume documents Warhol’s output from the early 1970s, during which time the artist completed many commissioned portraits, his innovative Rain Machine painting/installation, and his canonical series of monumental canvases of Mao Zedong.

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Retrospective Catalogues

Since his death in 1987, Warhol has been the subject of many retrospective exhibitions. While most take on specific aspects of his career (see numerous examples under other headings in this article), the examples in this section include publications that in some way attempt to encompass the full chronological range of Warhol’s career. McShine 1989 and Bastian 2001 are the most traditional of these exhibitions; both catalogues, especially the former, contain important critical essays. Koepplin and Francis 1998 considers Warhol’s career as a draftsman. Kvaran, et al. 2008 features short, yet illuminating, essays about particular themes across Warhol’s art, while Francis and King 1997 employs the lens of fashion as a way to view the artist’s career more broadly. Meyer-Hermann 2007 is a radical reconsideration of Warhol, giving well-deserved attention to his films, video, photography, music, and publishing in moving away from the usual focus on painting. All volumes are generously illustrated.

  • Bastian, Heiner, ed. Andy Warhol: Retrospective. London: Tate, 2001.

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    The catalogue of this retrospective (making its stops in London and Berlin) positions Warhol as an example of “classical modernism”: an artist whose work engages the very processes of art. While it does not address Warhol’s late works in any meaningful way, Bastian’s framework provides a solid, yet safe, overview of the artist’s career. Impressive short essays by Donna de Salvo and Kurt Vandedoe add some complexity to the text.

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  • Francis, Mark, and Margery King, eds. The Warhol Look: Glamour, Style, Fashion. Boston: Little, Brown, 1997.

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    This landmark exhibition catalogue considers the breath of Warhol’s career (from his interest in Hollywood to Interview magazine and society portraits in the 1970s and 1980s), unifying his diverse production through his abiding interest in style and fashion. The book is filled with images of archival materials, examples of his commercial work for magazines such as Vogue, works of art, and designer clothing; and its nine essays argue that these considerations of glamour were integral to his “serious” artistic interventions.

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  • Koepplin, Dieter, and Mark Francis. Andy Warhol: Drawings, 1942–1987. Munich: Schrimer/Mosel, 1998.

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    With drawings largely pulled from Warhol’s estate, this volume sets out to show the range and types of drawings Warhol produced throughout his career, augmented by a substantial text by Dieter Koepplin.

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  • Kvaran, Gunnar B., Hanne Beate Ueland, and Grete Årbu, eds. Andy Warhol by Andy Warhol. Milan: Sikra, 2008.

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    This catalogue to a Norwegian exhibition features short and incisive essays that explore Warhol’s treatment of themes such as consumerism, religion, and politics in his art.

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  • McShine, Kynaston, ed. Andy Warhol: A Retrospective. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1989.

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    Marking the first full-scale retrospective of the artist (focusing primarily on his paintings and drawings, however), this exhibition and catalogue kick-started the critical reevaluation of Warhol following his death. Essays by Robert Rosenblum (a broad art historical consideration of Warhol) and Benjamin H. D. Buchloh (see Buchloh 1989, cited under University and 1950s Commercial Work) establish that Warhol should be taken seriously as an artist.

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  • Meyer-Hermann, Eva, ed. Andy Warhol: A Guide to 706 Items in 2 Hours 56 Minutes. Rotterdam: NAi Publishers, 2007.

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    Like the exhibition, this catalogue features an overwhelming constellation of material in various media in order to present a democratic and archival portrait of the artist. Eroding traditional hierarchies among paintings, photographs, audio tapes, films, and television programs, the short essays in this visually complex book (by both well-known artists and art historians) strive to present a multimedia Warhol willfully flouting traditional artistic boundaries and hierarchies.

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Essay Collections

While few scholarly monographs are available on Warhol, there are a number of excellent edited collections of essays about the artist. Garrels 1989 was the first, based on a symposium, as was MacCabe, et al. 1997. Both of these contain a diverse range of scholarly work. Berman 1994, which marked the opening of a museum dedicated to the artist’s life and work, introduces him through essays from various perspectives of this important institution. Michelson 2001 collects a number of seminal Warhol essays from other sources, all detailing an artist who was critically engaged with both art history and the mass media. Most recently, Buchloh 2010 brings together established and young scholars in this special issue of the theoretically engaged journal October dedicated largely to the artist’s films.

  • Berman, Avis, ed. The Andy Warhol Museum. Ostfildern-Ruit, Germany: Hatje Cantz, 1994.

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    Published on the occasion of the establishment of the Andy Warhol Museum in Warhol’s hometown of Pittsburgh, this collection of essays discusses the museum itself (its founding and architecture) as well as providing introductions to its collections and vast archives. It also comes with a CD featuring audio files from Warhol’s life and work.

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  • Buchloh, Benjamin H. D., ed. “Andy Warhol: A Special Issue.” October 132 (2010).

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    Drawn from papers presented at a conference marking what would have been Warhol’s eightieth birthday, these essays largely move away from an emphasis on Warhol as a painter; rather, they focus more on his “filmic legacies.” It includes new texts by Douglas Crimp, Hal Foster, Branden Joseph, and Brigitte Weingart, among others. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Garrels, Gary, ed. The Work of Andy Warhol. Dia Art Foundation Discussions in Contemporary Culture 3. Seattle: Bay Press, 1989.

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    Based on a symposium designed to reevaluate Warhol’s critical legacy after his death, the contributors to this book employ a number of different art historical perspectives. It includes essays by Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Rainer Crone, Trevor Fairbrother, Nan Rosenthal, and Simon Whatney as well as sometimes lively transcripts of audience discussions. Its essays by Rosenthal, Fairbrother, and Whatney are cited under other headings.

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  • MacCabe, Colin, Mark Francis, and Peter Wollen, eds. Who Is Andy Warhol? London: British Film Institute, 1997.

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    This collection of fifteen essays was drawn from the symposium “Warhol’s Worlds,” which was held in Pittsburgh and marked the opening of the Andy Warhol Museum. The aim of this erudite, yet readable volume is to consider the many different facets of Warhol’s career: painter, filmmaker, writer, dandy, publisher, etc. As Peter Wollen suggests in his contribution to the collection, the Warhol of this book comes across as a “renaissance man” (p. 11).

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  • Michelson, Annette, ed. Andy Warhol. October Files 2. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001.

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    This volume brings together a series of five seminal essays (some of which are also cited under other sections) by Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Thomas Crow, Rosalind Krauss, Hal Foster, and Annette Michelsen that address the intertwined ways in which Warhol’s work engages discourses of artistic modernism and capitalist mass culture. The book also features a previously unpublished interview between Warhol and Buchloh. Published in association with the theoretically minded art historical journal October, these texts are rigorous and illuminating.

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Early Critical Responses

Warhol is now considered one of the most important artists of the 20th century. But the various responses of early critics—whether identifying the work as simple Neo-Dada provocations or as profound political interventions—can help readers flesh out a more historical understanding of the artist. Madoff 1997 collects early reviews and essays about Warhol and other American pop artists. Pratt 1997 focuses solely on Warhol, but also covers more chronological ground. Coplans, et al. 1970 and Morphet 1971 are early exhibition catalogues that critically engage Warhol’s work of the 1960s. Crone 1970 is the first monograph on Warhol and is of crucial importance for its aligning the artist with Brechtian and Marxist thought. O’Pray 1989 collects some crucial early attempts to characterize Warhol’s films.

  • Coplans, John, Jonas Mekas, and Calvin Tomkins. Andy Warhol. Greenwich, CT: New York Graphic Society, 1970.

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    The three essays in this volume offer an overview of Warhol in the 1960s from a journalistic perspective (Calvin Tomkins), an art historical one that discusses his paintings (John Coplans), and a cinematic one that addresses his films (Jonas Mekas). Widely published, this book was one of the early standard texts on the artist.

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  • Crone, Rainer. Andy Warhol. New York: Praeger, 1970.

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    This important book (and early version of a catalogue raisonné) by a German art historian considers Warhol as a socially engaged artist, one whose work critiques capitalism through Brechtian theories of alienation and through its negation of traditional ideas of authorship and aura (a concept drawn from the writings of the Frankfurt School critic Walter Benjamin). Crone’s book is the first to position Warhol’s works as functioning explicitly against the culture of mass culture, celebrity, and commodities.

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  • Madoff, Steven Henry, ed. Pop Art: A Critical History. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

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    While the book covers the critical response to American pop art more broadly, it includes a major section on Warhol and also important early reviews and essays, some by Michael Fried, Donald Judd, John Coplans, and Robert Rosenblum. Its inclusions of early essays addressing pop more broadly—and Warhol’s position within this larger movement—are also useful.

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  • Morphet, Richard. Warhol. London: Tate, 1971.

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    This rigorously art historical catalogue to this 1971 exhibition of paintings at London’s Tate Gallery tackles Warhol largely from a formalist perspective. Among other things, Morphet charts the relationships of his painting to abstract expressionism and other modernist strategies of art.

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  • O’Pray, Michael, ed. Andy Warhol: Film Factory. London: British Film Institute, 1989.

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    This edited collection brings together classic early texts on Warhol’s films by Ronald Tavel in 1966, Gregory Battcock in 1967, and Jonas Mekas in 1970, among others. (It also features newer essays; see Warhol’s Filmmaking.)

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  • Pratt, Alan R., ed. The Critical Response to Andy Warhol. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1997.

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    This volume collects early reviews and responses to Warhol’s work from the 1960s and 1970s (some of which are also available in Madoff 1997), while also continuing to assemble his critical texts through the 1980s and into the 1990s.

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Warhol in his Own Words

As deadpan, ironic, and insightful as his paintings and films, Warhol’s words—whether in interviews, journals, or other written texts—are an important complement to his art. Warhol and Hackett 1980 is the artist’s lively memoir of the 1960s, while Warhol 1977 is a readable, decidedly anti-philosophical take on his own philosophy. Hackett 1989 is an extensive selection (more than 800 pages) from Warhol’s dairies, providing a detailed firsthand account of the artist’s last decade. Goldsmith 2004 usefully collects the most important and illuminating of Warhol interviews, and Warhol 1998 is the artist’s experimental and nearly unreadable novel.

  • Hackett, Pat, ed. The Andy Warhol Diaries. New York: Warner, 1989.

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    Started as a means to document his activities for tax purposes, this diary—conveyed to Pat Hackett by a daily morning phone call—serves as a rich record of Warhol’s activities from 1976 until shortly before his death in 1987. Filled with equal measures of banality, celebrity gossip, and scathing insights, these dairies provide perhaps the richest portrait of the artist during this period.

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  • Goldsmith, Kenneth, ed. I’ll Be Your Mirror: The Selected Andy Warhol Interviews. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2004.

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    As the perceptive introduction to this book by Reva Wolf suggests, Warhol’s interviews are as radical as his artworks; for example, he often subverted the standard interview, flipping the roles of interviewer and interviewee. The famous interviews are all here—Warhol speaking with Gene Swenson, Gerald Malanga, Gretchen Berg, and Benjamin H. D. Buchloh—as well as lesser-known conversations that are equally compelling.

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  • Warhol, Andy. The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977.

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    This series of informal recollections, like Warhol’s work itself, seems straightforward, but it offers profound ideas about, among other things, consumerism, art, and death. Infused with Warhol’s humor and wit, this is a lively and fascinating read.

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  • Warhol, Andy. A: A Novel. New York: Grove, 1998.

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    Viewed by some as a response to James Joyce’s Ulysses, this transcription of twenty-four audio tapes of conversation between Andy Warhol and Factory regular and Warhol film actor Ondine produced a chaotic and fragmentary text. With typos and mis-transcriptions left in, this “novel,” originally published in 1968, recounts a day in underground New York, although its lack of traditional structure is what makes it artistically significant.

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  • Warhol, Andy, and Pat Hackett. POPism: The Warhol Sixties. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980.

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    Warhol’s chronological and breezy journey through the 1960s covers his rise to fame, his shift to filmmaking, and the attempt on his life in 1968, among more mundane activities at the Factory. Like his dairies, interviews, and other writings, the ironic distance employed by this book only sharpens its focus and insight into his own work as well his cultural context.

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University and 1950s Commercial Work

Before achieving fame with his pop paintings, Warhol was a successful commercial artist living in New York after receiving his degree in “pictorial design” from Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon). Interest has grown in this early period of his life since Warhol’s death. Stimson 2001 and Golec 2008 detail Warhol’s education in Pittsburgh and the implications for his later work. Powers 2012 considers these early years in relation to Warhol’s later conception of social difference. For the New York years, De Salvo 1989, with its copious illustrations and insightful text, is the best place to start. Rosenthal 1989, Buchloh 1989, Crow 2010, and Grudin 2010 all engage the connections between Warhol’s commercial art and his early Pop paintings based on consumerist subjects, albeit in fundamentally different ways.

  • Buchloh, Benjamin H. D. “Andy Warhol’s One-Dimensional Art: 1956–1966.” In Andy Warhol: A Retrospective. Edited by Kynaston McShine, 39–61. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1989.

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    In this seminal and widely cited essay, Buchloh suggests a dialectical relationship between Warhol’s commercial work and his initial pop paintings. In his 1950s advertisements, he used advanced artistic strategies derived from Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, while his paintings imported techniques associated with commercial art. The result is a critical practice built upon artistic negation. (It also appears in Garrels 1989, cited under Essay Collections.)

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  • Crow, Thomas. “Warhol among the Art Directors.” In Andy Warhol Enterprises. Edited by Sarah Urist Green and Allison Unrue, 99–113. Ostfildern-Ruit, Germany: Hatje Cantz, 2010.

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    Pointing out the affinities between the pop Warhol of the 1960s and his commercial work of the 1950s, Crow posits that Warhol learned his avant-garde lessons not only from Johns and Rauschenberg (as Buchloh 1989 suggests), but also from processes internal to commercial art.

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  • De Salvo, Donna M., ed. “Success Is a Job in New York . . .”: The Early Art and Business of Andy Warhol. New York: Grey Art Gallery, 1989.

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    This important publication was the first to explore Warhol’s commercial work of the 1950s. In this publication filled with previously unpublished or unattributed drawings and advertisements, the essays and other shorter texts radically position his commercial work and other early attempts at fine art as important foundations to the work that later brought Warhol fame. Of special interest are the short vignettes, written by the artist’s former commercial clients, that describe working with Warhol during these years.

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  • Golec, Michael J. The Brillo Box Archive: Aesthetics, Design, and Art. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 2008.

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    While also addressing the philosophical issues of the Brillo box (See Danto 1998, cited under Aesthetics and Philosophy), Golec’s book does a good job discussing Warhol’s famous Brillo boxes as rooted in theories of mid-century consumer design and Warhol’s own training at Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh.

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  • Grudin, Anthony E. “‘A Sign of Good Taste’: Andy Warhol and the Rise of Brand Image Advertising.” Oxford Art Journal 33.2 (2010): 211–232.

    DOI: 10.1093/oxartj/kcq014Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This essay explores brand marketing in the 1950s as providing the context for Warhol’s work for the shoe firm of I. Miller as well as for the artist’s early pop work. Employing studies and archives of period advertising, Grudin positions the brands Warhol painted as a battleground of shifting class associations for the artist. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Powers, Edward D. “‘All Things That I Didn’t Want to Change Anyway’: Andy Warhol and the Sociology of Difference.” American Art 26.1 (2012): 48–73.

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    Drawing on the mid-century sociology of Paul Goodman and David Riesman, Powers explores how Warhol’s early experiences at Carnegie Tech shaped the way he viewed conformity and social difference, an attitude that has resonance throughout his career.

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  • Rosenthal, Nan. “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: Warhol as Art Director.” In The Work of Andy Warhol. Edited by Gary Garrels, 34–51. Dia Art Foundation Discussions in Contemporary Culture 3. Seattle: Bay Press, 1989.

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    Exploring the artist’s coursework at Carnegie Tech and his commercial experience in detail, Rosenthal proposes that we view Warhol as the “art director” of his early pop painting. By this she means that they are the products of commercial design and it processes. Like Crow 2010, she suggests that Warhol understood the overlap of commercial and avant-garde strategies.

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  • Stimson, Blake. “Andy Warhol’s Red Beard.” Art Bulletin 83.3 (2001): 527–547.

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    In this rich and illuminating essay, Stimson considers two popular influences on Warhol in 1948–1949: the child actress Shirley Temple and the left-leaning social realist artist Ben Shahn. Detailing Warhol’s artistic training at Carnegie Tech under Robert Lepper, the coded sexuality of Temple, and the Red Scare in Pittsburgh, Stimson discusses Warhol’s earliest artistic output and posits these identifications as constructing Warhol’s distinctive camp sensibility. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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Pop Paintings in the 1960s

Warhol’s Pop paintings from the 1960s—especially from 1962 to 1964—have drawn the most attention from scholars, especially until very recently. (Most of the sources cited under Early Critical Responses address these works.) His paintings from the period include his newspaper headlines and Campbell’s soup cans as well as silkscreened canvases featuring images of Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, and the car accidents and suicides that became known as his Death and Disaster series. Zimmer and Stotz 2010 is a good place to start for understanding the wide variety of early work from the first part of the decade. De Duve 1989 relates these early paintings and Warhol’s stated desire to be a machine to the anticapitalist theories of Karl Marx. Three sources address the importance of the Death and Disaster series: Crow 1996 interprets Warhol’s subjects as exposing the dark side of American capitalism; Foster 1996 uses theories of repetition’s relation to trauma to describe the paintings as “traumatic realism”; Phelan 1999 addresses the series through performance studies theory. Fogle, et al. 2005 considers these Death and Disaster paintings in tandem with those of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor. Wagner 1996 considers Warhol’s Race Riot silkscreens (drawn from images of civil rights violence in Birmingham) as a kind of “history painting,” and Curley 2013 thinks about Warhol’s early pop work also in tandem with history, namely that of the Cold War. Wolf 1997 locates Warhol’s paintings from this period firmly in the context of the New York literary world.

  • Crow, Thomas. “Saturday Disasters: Trace and Reference in Early Warhol.” In Modern Art in the Common Culture. By Thomas Crowe, 49–65. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996.

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    In this important essay, Crow describes Warhol’s subject choices—Marilyn Monroe, car accidents, suicides, etc.—and the distressed nature of the silkscreen registrations as thematizing the violent underbelly of consumer capitalism. (Also included in Michelson 2001, cited under Essay Collections.)

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  • Curley, John J. A Conspiracy of Images: Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter, and the Art of the Cold War. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2013.

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    In this well-illustrated book, Curley discusses the importance of the Cold War to Warhol’s artistic production in the early 1960s. For him, these early paintings are emblematic of “Cold War visuality,” expressing the mutual need for, and the impossibility of, image control. Through its comparison of Warhol to the German painter Gerhard Richter, the book also positions Warhol via a larger transatlantic understanding of pop art.

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  • De Duve, Thierry. “Andy Warhol, or the Machine Perfected.” Translated by Rosalind Krauss. October 48 (1989): 3–14.

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    In this theoretical text, De Duve wrestles with Warhol’s 1960s paintings in terms of Karl Marx’s theories of the commodity, suggesting that the artist’s stated desire to be a machine lays bare the emptiness of the American dream. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Fogle, Douglas, Francesco Bonami, and David Moos. Andy Warhol/Supernova: Stars, Deaths, and Disasters, 1962–1964. Minneapolis: Walker Art Center, 2005.

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    This well-illustrated exhibition catalogue brings together Warhol’s paintings of celebrities as well as his images tackling darker subjects, such as suicides and car accidents. The volume’s three illuminating essays find links between these groups of works as well as considering them via formal qualities and notions of history paintings.

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  • Foster, Hal. “Death in America.” October 75 (1996): 36–59.

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    Finding a way to reconcile the referential understanding of Warhol (see Crow 1996) with the simulacrum (see Baudrillard 2001, cited under Aesthetics and Philosophy), Foster employs a Lacanian understanding of trauma to equate Warhol’s repetition and his off-register silkscreens images as producing a “missed encounter with the real” (p. 42). Foster calls this “traumatic realism.” (Also included in Michelson 2001, cited under Essay Collections.)

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  • Phelan, Peggy. “Andy Warhol: Performances of Death in America.” In Performing the Body/Performing the Text. Edited by Amelia Jones and Andrew Stephenson, 208–220. London: Routledge, 1999.

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    This essay reads Warhol’s Death and Disaster series through the lens of performance studies, namely tacking the question whether these painting can enable the spectator to “conceive of oneself as simultaneously dead and alive” (p. 216).

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  • Wagner, Anne. “Warhol Paints History, or Race in America.” Representations 55 (1996): 98–119.

    DOI: 10.1525/rep.1996.55.1.99p0445kSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In 1964, Warhol silkscreened violent images from the Civil Rights struggle (published in Life) to make his Race Riot silkscreens. Wagner views these as a complex and contradictory kind of “history painting,” one that through can engender allegorical plentitude and historical insights from image specificity. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Wolf, Reva. Andy Warhol, Poetry and Gossip in the 1960s. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997.

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    Full of both rich anecdotal and archival details, this book securely places Warhol in the underground world of New York intellectuals, primarily poets. Wolf suggests that Warhol’s literary activities—and his understanding of poets such as Jean Genet, John Ashbery, and others—must inform how viewers understand his paintings.

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  • Zimmer, Nina, and Maren Stotz, eds. Andy Warhol, The Early Sixties: Painting and Drawings, 1961–1964. Ostfildern-Ruit, Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2010.

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    In addition to its quality reproductions of many works, this exhibition catalogue (from Basel, Switzerland) features short summaries of Warhol’s different series from these important years as well as essays by Arthur Danto, Sebastian Egenhofer, and Stefan Neuer. These texts approach the works from largely philosophical and formal positions.

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Paintings in the 1970s and 1980s

Other than his portraits from these years (see Portraiture), very little critical or scholarly attention, until recently, has been devoted to Warhol’s diverse painted works from the 1970s and 1980: abstraction, self-portraits, and his versions of The Last Supper, to name three. Without a doubt, the place to start is Francis 2004, which collects the majority of short essays on these works in one place. Krauss 2001 examines one body of work (his paintings-based on Rorschach blots) as a complex rejoinder to Jackson Pollock. Buchloh 2009 examines various products of Warhol’s late work as continuing the artist’s engagement with questions of artistic modernism and mass culture. Fairbrother 1989 and Dillenberger 1998 primarily decode Warhol’s late iconography, the former in relationship to notions of vanitas painting and the latter to Warhol’s Catholicism.

  • Buchloh, Benjamin H. D. “Drawing Blanks: Notes on Andy Warhol’s Late Works.” October 127 (Winter 2009): 3–24.

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    In the epigrammatic essay, Buchloh discusses a range of Warhol’s late works—a series of drawings depicting hands knitting, works across media representing a store-bought hammer and sickle (referring to communism), and his Oxidation series (sometimes called the “piss paintings”)—relative to the artist’s reshaping and transformation of Marcel Duchamp’s legacy in an age of expanded capitalism. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Dillenberger, Jane Daggett. The Religious Art of Andy Warhol. New York: Continuum, 1998.

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    While ostensibly about Warhol’s entire career, this book focuses primarily on Warhol’s explicitly religious paintings: his series of Crosses and his copies of Italian Renaissance paintings, as in Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, for example. Dillenberger argues that Warhol’s Catholic spirituality and piety (noted by John Richardson in his eulogy at the artist’s funeral) is crucial for understanding the totality of his career.

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  • Fairbrother, Trevor. “Skulls.” In The Work of Andy Warhol. Edited by Gary Garrels, 93–114. Dia Art Foundation Discussions in Contemporary Culture 3. Seattle: Bay Press, 1989.

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    This essay examines Warhol’s series of Skull paintings (1976), in terms of both their connections back to his canonical work of the 1960s and their relation to other late works, such as his Hammer and Sickle series and arresting last series of self-portraits. These pictures illustrate Warhol’s trademark pictorial complexity and demonstrate the artist’s lifelong obsession with death. (A version is also anthologized in Francis 2004.)

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  • Francis, Mark, ed. Andy Warhol: The Late Work. Munich: Prestel, 2004.

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    In this publication devoted to Warhol’s works in the 1970s and 1980s, Mark Francis positions the late work not as inferior to Warhol’s 1960s production but rather as an “extension of their concerns on a larger scale” (p. 9). This is echoed in important short essays by Rosalind Krauss, Yve-Alain Bois, and Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, among others, which consider the ways these paintings relate to concerns of abstraction and the body.

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  • Krauss, Rosalind. “Carnal Knowledge.” In Andy Warhol. Edited by Annette Michelson, 111–118. October Files 2. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001.

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    Krauss reads Warhol’s series of paintings of Rorschach blots as reframing the abstract canvases of Jackson Pollock, showing how the eruption of the carnal and a confusion between discourses of high and low are primary concerns of the late work. (This essay is also included in Francis 2004.)

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Filmmaking

If Warhol’s paintings from the 1960s constituted objects of scholarly inquiry through the 1990s, more recently it is his films that are attracting the most attention. Writers have especially been drawn to his initial period of 1963 until 1968, when he made films that call explicit attention to time and the very structure of the medium. As these works become more available to scholars (see Catalogue Raisonnés), scholarship will likely increase even further. Angell 1994 is a good place to begin, a clear essay that provides a narrative of Warhol’s development. O’Pray 1989 is a helpful essay collection, and it includes a wide variety of essays from the 1960s and the late 1980s. Koch 2002, also an overview, considers both the films and the contextual and biographical details of their production. Crimp 2012 and Murphy 2012 are two recent book-length attempts to deal with the implications of large numbers of Warhol’s films, while Grundmann 2003 and Gidal 2008 take different approaches to a single Warhol film, the notorious Blow Job. James 1989 considers the artist from a film studies perspective, and Joseph 2005 uses Warhol’s first film, Sleep, to reflect theoretically about Warhol’s use of repetition in his productions.

  • Angell, Callie. “Andy Warhol, Filmmaker.” In The Andy Warhol Museum. Edited by Avis Berman, 121–145. Ostfildern-Ruit, Germany: Hatje Cantz, 1994.

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    The undisputed expert on Warhol’s films (until her untimely death in 2010), this essay is a fine introduction and overview to Warhol’s film practice, including an informal listing of his major works.

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  • Crimp, Douglas. “Our Kind of Movie”: The Films of Andy Warhol. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012.

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    Discussing Warhol’s best-known films, such as Blow-Job, the many “screen tests,” and Chelsea Girls, this important book (the first single-author monograph since the first edition of Koch 2002) explores Warhol’s many innovations in this medium. Whether deconstructing the nature of film or inventing new modes of time and spectatorship, these films, for Crimp, also articulate (or invent) a distinctly queer visual culture in the 1960s.

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  • Gidal, Peter. Andy Warhol: Blow Job. London: Afterall, 2008.

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    As part of the “One Work” series that each explores a single, pivotal work of art, Gidal’s little book discusses this notorious film, which features only a young man’s face as he is apparently being fellated off-camera. For the author, its lack of illusionism and explicit drama thematizes the material nature of film and the act of spectatorship.

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  • Grundmann, Roy. Andy Warhol’s Blow Job. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2003.

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    Taking a more interdisciplinary and cultural studies approach than Gidal 2008, Grundmann explores Blow Job and its formal qualities relative to the construction of white gay male identity in pre-Stonewall New York.

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  • James, David E. “Andy Warhol: The Producer as Author.” In Allegories of Cinema: American Film in the Sixties. By David E. James, 58–84. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1989.

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    Within his larger history of American underground cinema, James positions Warhol as one of the most important filmmakers of the postwar period. By mocking Hollywood forms—calling his studio the Factory, for instance—his films critically engage and negate the mass market products. James dialectically considers Stan Brakhage as the poetic and expressive alternative to Warhol’s more deadpan and critical take on mainstream cinema.

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  • Joseph, Branden. “The Play of Repetition: Andy Warhol’s Sleep.” Grey Room 19 (Spring 2005): 22–53.

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    Joseph discusses Warhol’s Sleep—a film of a man sleeping that is over five hours in length—in terms of John Cage’s notions of repetition, especially the way in which differences emerge in replication. Building on Gilles Deleuze, Joseph argues that the film ultimately both mimics and exposes the hollowness of the serialized reality of commodity culture. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Koch, Stephen. Stargazer: The Life, World, and Films of Andy Warhol. 3d ed. London: Marion Boyars, 2002.

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    First published in 1973, this was, for many years, the only book devoted to Warhol’s filmmaking. While Koch does address the artist’s radical formal innovations (with comparisons to Charles Baudelaire and Marcel Duchamp, for example), he also interprets the film through an overtly (and very 1970s) Freudian lens, connecting them to Warhol’s fear of death and his narcissism.

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  • Murphy, J. J. The Black Hole of the Camera: The Films of Andy Warhol. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.

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    Instead of separating Warhol’s silent productions (like Sleep and Blow Job) from his later and less revered sound films of the 1970s, Murphy seeks to integrate these two phases through concepts of psychodrama, filmic transformation, and narrative. It is a comprehensive study of Warhol’s entire film output.

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  • O’Pray, Michael, ed. Andy Warhol: Film Factory. London: British Film Institute, 1989.

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    In addition to bringing together classic early texts on Warhol’s films (see Early Critical Responses), O’Pray specifically commissioned essays addressing various aspects of Warhol’s filmic practice from journalistic, art historical, and cinema studies backgrounds.

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Portraiture

Warhol created portraits throughout his career—drawings, paintings, prints, photographs, and films. The volumes in this section suggest the centrality of this aspect to Warhol’s overall conception of art. Shafrazi, et al. 2009 is a good visual introduction to his painted portraits, but Baume 1999 provides a more holistic understanding of the practice across Warhol’s career and media. Elger 2004 focuses only on Warhol’s self-portraits, and Violette 1993 on his society portraits of the 1970s and 1980s. Meyer 2008 explores a controversial series of Warhol’s portraits of Jewish subjects.

  • Baume, Nicholas, ed. About Face: Andy Warhol Portraits. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999.

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    Boldly considering the idea of portraiture across media and periods of Warhol’s career —from his early 1950s shoe drawings to his silkscreens to his filmic “screen tests”—Nicholas Baume, Richard Meyer (see Meyer 1999, cited under Queer Studies), and Douglas Crimp reveal the centrality of the portrait genre to the artist’s overall body of work.

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  • Elger, Dietmar, ed. Andy Warhol: Selbstportraits: Self-Portraits. Ostfildern-Ruit, Germany: Hatje Cantz, 2004.

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    With works ranging from Warhol’s youth up until his death, this generously illustrated exhibition catalogue explores Warhol’s practice of self-portraiture, something he returned to throughout his career. Four probing essays (by Robert Rosenblum, Dietmar Elger, and others) consider these works, produced in a variety of media, both thematically (often dealing with his own self-concealment and obsession with death) and formally (different media).

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  • Meyer, Richard. Warhol’s Jews: Ten Portraits Reconsidered. New York: Jewish Museum, 2008.

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    In 1980, Warhol (a Catholic) exhibited a series of ten portraits of famous Jews throughout history, which were slammed in the press as crassly commercial. Warhol was charged with trying to cash in on what one critic called “the synagogue circuit.” In this compact, yet perceptive, exhibition catalogue, Meyer reconsiders the history and reception of these paintings, situating them within Warhol’s working processes and his broader interests in art and commerce.

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  • Shafrazi, Tony, Robert Rosenblum, and Carter Ratcliff. Andy Warhol Portraits. Reprinted ed. London: Phaidon, 2009.

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    With more than three hundred illustrated examples, this volume provides a comprehensive record of Warhol’s portraiture. These images are augmented by three very short texts by Shafrazi, renowned art historian Robert Rosenblum, and perceptive critic Carter Ratcliff.

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  • Violette, Robert, ed. Andy Warhol: Portraits of the Seventies and Eighties. London: Thames and Hudson, 1993.

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    In addition to numerous color plates and two informal recollections by friends of Warhol, this exhibition catalogue features the previously published “Andy Warhol: Court Painter to the 70s” by Robert Rosenblum (pp. 139–150). This essay attempts seriously to consider Warhol’s much-maligned society portraits in terms of art historical precedents and not the empty commercial gestures that many others have attached to them.

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Aesthetics and Philosophy

By introducing seemingly unaltered surrogates of reality into the realm of art—using photomechanical silkscreen in painting, for instance—Warhol’s practice has had a profound effect on conceptions of aesthetics since the 1960s. It is not surprising that a number of critical theorists and philosophers have addressed his works (in addition to art historians referencing such thought in other sections). Barthes 1989 suggests Warhol’s repetition produces a critical distance in the viewer; Baudrillard 2001 views it as thematizing the emptiness of consumer fetishes; and Danto 1998 considers it as representing the end of a long tradition of Western art. Jameson 1997 understands the artist’s replication in terms of an economic model of postmodernism.

  • Barthes, Roland. “That Old Thing–Art.” In Post-Pop Art. Edited by Paul Taylor, 21–31. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1989.

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    While Barthes’s topic is pop art, he deals primarily with Warhol’s paintings and films from the 1960s. Discussing how the artist produces an “ontological” art that makes viewers recognize objects as mere signifiers, Barthes suggests that these repetitions open up a productive gap between objects and language.

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  • Baudrillard, Jean. “Andy Warhol: Snobbish Machine.” In Impossible Presence: Surface and Screen in the Photogenic Era. Edited by Terry Smith, 183–192. Translated by Julian Pefanis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001.

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    Baudrillard views Warhol’s works as representative of “the unconditional simulacrum,” paintings that present empty images as fetishes. As such, for this philosopher, Warhol has deconstructed the idea of art and the aesthetic to the point of challenging its very existence.

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  • Danto, Arthur. Beyond the Brillo Box: The Visual Arts in Post-historical Perspective. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

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    Danto first considered Warhol’s Brillo Box sculptures in 1964, viewing them as representing a terminus to the Western tradition of art, forever confusing the distinction between art and reality. In this book, Danto both reviews and expands his understanding of the artistic, aesthetic, and philosophical implications of Warhol’s radical practice.

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  • Jameson, Frederic. Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1997.

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    Referencing a well-known debate between Martin Heidegger and Jacques Derrida over Vincent van Gogh’s painting of a peasant’s shoes, Jameson, in the introduction to this important book, discusses Warhol’s Diamond Dust Shoes as marking a shift to “late capitalism” and postmodernism.

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Music, Underground Culture, and the Factory

In the mid-1960s, Warhol’s Factory served as a locus of avant-grade and underground activity in New York. In addition to the artist making paintings and films at the Factory during these years, the Velvet Underground, a rock band initially managed by Warhol, also rehearsed in the space. Shore and Tillman 1995 provides both a visual portrait of these years at the Factory as well as reminiscences of key players; Watson 2003 is a journalistic overview of the Factory and its distinctive personalities. Jones 1996 positions Warhol’s Factory relative to broader social and artistic shifts of the period. These years constitute a key component of Aquin 2008, which also situates the importance of music and dance in Warhol’s whole body of work. Joseph 2002 explores a multimedia spectacle that Warhol produced in the mid-1960s, and Crow 2007 posits connections between Warhol and Bob Dylan through notions of allegory. Wollen 1993 tackles Warhol broadly and argues for an “underground” Warhol, one that troubles mainstream understandings of the artist.

  • Aquin, Stéphane, ed. Warhol Live: Music and Dance in Andy Warhol’s Work. Munich: Prestel, 2008.

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    This fascinating and substantial exhibition catalogue examines the breath of Warhol’s career through his interest in music and dance, arguing for the ways that his deep involvement with sound, silence, and its recording structured his visual works. Augmented by scholarly essays and shorter texts, this catalogue is filled with images of canonical and lesser-known paintings as well as Warhol-designed record covers, relevant Interview magazines, and archival materials from the Factory and Velvet Underground performances.

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  • Crow, Thomas. “Lives of Allegory in the Pop 1960s: Andy Warhol and Bob Dylan.” In The Life & the Work: Art and Biography. Edited by Charles Salas, 108–149. Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2007.

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    Crow posits allegory, a mediating factor between any artist’s life and his/her work, as a means to consider the works of Andy Warhol alongside the music of Bob Dylan, arguing that a number of musician’s songs and the artist’s works allegorically chart the pair’s actual interactions. More importantly, the essay establishes the importance of the allegorical mode for better understanding both figures within their overlapping historical moments.

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  • Jones, Caroline. “Andy Warhol’s Factory, ‘Commonism,’ and the Business of Art Business.” In Machine in the Studio: Constructing the Postwar American Artist. By Caroline Jones,189–267. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

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    Warhol and his Factory are one of this book’s three major case studies—the others being Frank Stella and Robert Smithson. Jones views Warhol through the lens of the “technological sublime” of the 1960s, charting the changing nature of the artist’s studio in relationship to changes in industrial capitalism and technology.

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  • Joseph, Branden. “‘My Mind Split Open’: Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable.” Grey Room 8 (2002): 80–107.

    DOI: 10.1162/15263810260201616Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Joseph’s subject is Warhol’s multimedia events, organized in 1966 and 1967, known as the Exploding Plastic Inevitable. In addition to providing a comprehensive history of these performances, the author also posits that the disorienting chaos of these events mimics the loss of the subject in a technocratic culture of spectacle while also simultaneously providing new libidinal possibilities for the individual. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Shore, Stephen, and Lynne Tillman. The Velvet Years: Warhol’s Factory, 1965–67. New York: Thunder’s Mouth, 1995.

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    This book is a rich visual record of Warhol’s Factory from 1965 to 1967, with many photographs taken by accomplished artist Stephen Shore. Lynn Tillman’s introduction and profiles of Factory regulars (based on interviews) round out this lively book.

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  • Watson, Steven. Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties. New York: Pantheon, 2003.

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    This well-illustrated book is a journalistic cultural history of Warhol’s Factory in the mid-1960s and especially those figures who inhabited this world, including Lou Reed, Edie Sedgwick, Paul Morrissey, and others.

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  • Wollen, Peter. “Notes from the Underground: Andy Warhol.” In Raiding the Icebox: Reflections on Twentieth-Century Culture. By Peter Wollen, 158–175. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993.

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    Wollen considers Warhol’s career broadly—his paintings, films, performance, curatorial interventions, etc.—as a means to explore the artist’s interest in “leftovers.” For the author, Warhol’s dual interests in minimalism and camp engage the “perverse aesthetic realms” of the underground (p. 172).

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Queer Studies

Since the 1990s, much scholarship on Warhol has engaged his homosexuality and the degree to which his drawings, paintings, films, and media interventions produced a queer sensibility. While Flatley 1989 is among the first essays to address this aspect of Warhol’s art, the key text in this regard, and a landmark publication for Warhol studies more broadly, is Doyle, et al. 1996, a collection of ten essays all considering Warhol through a queer lens. Meyer 1994 and Meyer 1999 are two texts by a leading scholar on Warhol that consider, respectively, closeted desire and camp in two distinct bodies of the artist’s work. Collins 2001 tackles these issues through Freud and Warhol’s Catholicism. Nochlin 1995 considers Warhol’s paintings of nude men through art history and pornography. A number of the sources in Archives and Collecting also deal with these issues and alternative conceptions of subjectivity through strategies of collecting.

  • Collins, Bradford R. “Dick Tracy and the Case of Warhol’s Closet: A Psychoanalytic Detective Story.” American Art 15.3 (2001): 54–79.

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    Collins provides a Freudian reading of Warhol’s early pop paintings, especially Dick Tracy (1961), arguing that it privately stages the artist’s battles against homophobia in the social world as well as conflicts with his deeply internalized Catholicism. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Doyle, Jennifer, Jonathan Flatley, and José Esteban Muñoz, eds. Pop Out: Queer Warhol. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1996.

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    Working against what the editors see as a “degaying” of Warhol in popular criticism and scholarship, the introduction and ten essays in this landmark interdisciplinary collection consider the artist’s homosexuality as a structuring principle in his paintings, films, and other forms of cultural production. Some essays also chart his relationship to various queer communities. The volume includes texts by each of the editors as well as Simon Watney, Eve Kosofsky Sedgeick, and others.

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  • Flatley, Jonathan. “Tomorrow’s Man.” In “Success Is a Job in New York . . .”: The Early Art and Business of Andy Warhol. Edited by Donna M. De Salvo, 55–74. New York: Grey Art Gallery, 1989.

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    Flatley argues that Warhol constructed a distinctly gay sensibility through his artworks of the 1950s in both his commercial and his personal work. At this time, homosexuality was rarely openly acknowledged. (This essay is included in De Salvo 1989, cited under University and 1950s Commercial Work.)

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  • Meyer, Richard. “Warhol’s Clones.” Yale Journal for Criticism 7.1 (1994): 79–105.

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    For the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, Warhol exhibited an outdoor mural entitled Thirteen Most Wanted, featuring mug shots of criminals. Before thinking more broadly about Warhol’s visual replications and gay culture, Meyer brilliantly recasts this work and its censorship (it was covered with silver paint soon after its completion) as connecting homoerotic desire and looking to period notions of criminality.

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  • Meyer, Richard. “Boot Camp.” In About Face: Andy Warhol Portraits. Edited by Nicholas Baume, 100–109. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999.

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    Taking Warhol’s shoe portraits from the 1950s as his subject (gilded drawings of shoes titled after celebrities or friends), Meyer notes how these works engage with notions of “camp” (derived from Susan Sontag), thereby reimagining gender, sexuality, and notions of portraiture. (The essay is included in Baume 1999, cited under Portraiture.)

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  • Nochlin, Linda. “‘Sex Is So Abstract’: The Nudes of Andy Warhol.” In Andy Warhol Nudes. Edited by John Cheim, np. Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 1995.

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    Renowned art historian Nochlin considers Warhol’s replicated silkscreen paintings of male torsos in the 1970s as contradictions of a sort: referring both to heroically nude masculine figures in ancient Greco-Roman or neoclassical art and to mass-market male pornography.

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Archives and Collecting

Warhol was an avid collector of many types of objects, and he also once organized a museum exhibition that deconstructed the very notion of institutional collecting. Smith 2002 provides a good overview of all these practices, with Flatley 2010 and Lobel 1996 theorizing them as subversive or queer alternatives to mainstream practices (as such, these essays could also be listed under Queer Studies). Bright 2001 explores Warhol’s curatorial intervention in 1969, while Smith, et al. 2003 discusses and visually demonstrates the heterogeneity of Warhol’s Time Capsule archive. Marion 1988 is an auction catalogue from the sale of Warhol’s estate that dramatizes the extent and eccentricities of the artist’s collecting.

  • Bright, Deborah. “Shopping the Leftovers: Warhol’s Collecting Strategies in Raid the Icebox I.” Art History 24.2 (2001): 278–291.

    DOI: 10.1111/1467-8365.00264Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In 1970, Warhol curated a show drawn from objects in storage at the art museum at the Rhode Island School of Design called Raid the Icebox I, and this essay vividly describes it. By placing minor, damaged, or lesser quality objects on display—often still in their storage crates or en masse—Warhol questioned the object and display hierarchies of the museum. Bright reads this intervention as “an exquisite act of class revenge” (p. 288). Available online by subscription or purchase.

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  • Flatley, Jonathan. “Like: Collecting and Collectivity.” October 132 (2010): 71–98.

    DOI: 10.1162/octo.2010.132.1.71Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Flatley considers Warhol’s dual understanding of the word like—its connotations of expressing preference or similarities—as a means for theorizing the artist’s broad collecting practices, whether cookie jars or “screen tests” of Factory denizens. For the author, these strategies both open up a space to counter capitalist notions of objects and to blur artificial binaries of sexuality. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Lobel, Michael. “Warhol’s Closet.” Art Journal 55.4 (1996): 42–50.

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    Lobel considers three public manifestation of Warhol’s collecting practices—Raid the Icebox I, an exhibition of the artist’s collection of folk art, and Sotheby’s auction of the artist’s estate after his death—as registering an aesthetic of the gay closet, negotiating its boundaries between public and private. Available online by subscription.

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  • Marion, John L. The Andy Warhol Collection: Sold for the Benefit of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. 6 vols. New York: Sotheby’s, 1988.

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    This six-volume auction catalogue details the many diverse artworks and objects in Warhol’s estate that were sold in April and May 1988. The six volumes are divided as follows: art nouveau and art deco; collectibles, jewelry, furniture, decorations, and paintings; jewelry and watches; American Indian art; Americana and European and American paintings, drawings, and prints; and contemporary art.

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  • Smith, John W., ed. Possession Obsession: Andy Warhol and Collecting. Pittsburgh: Andy Warhol Museum, 2002.

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    This brilliant and well-illustrated exhibition catalogue brings together a number of essays (including condensed versions of Lobel 1996 and Flatley 2010) to explore Warhol’s diverse collecting strands (jewelry, art deco, Americana, American Indian art, etc.) as “another kind of artistic practice” (p. 16).

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  • Smith, John W., Marto Kramer, and Matt Wrbican, eds. Andy Warhol’s Time Capsule 21. Cologne: Dumont, 2003.

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    Warhol began to collect a range of objects, whether artworks, letters, magazines, receipts, or even trash, in standard cardboard boxes. Known as “Time Capsules,” the Andy Warhol Museum has around six hundred in its collection. This volume, with a few short essays that frame a discussion of Warhol’s archival practices, illustrates the heterogeneous contents of a single example.

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Photography, Media, and Television

Warhol’s work has long been considered in relation to photography and the mass media, but these entries address these interests specifically. Heinrich, et al. 1999 and Ketner 2012, in different ways, position photography—both as objects and as a practice—as central to Warhol’s career, while Ganis 2004 does the same through a body of little known, late works. Donovan 2011 demonstrates the importance of newspapers (including tabloids) to Warhol’s art, especially theorizing the relationship of art to mass media reporting. Joselit 2002 explores how Warhol’s works, beginning from the 1960s, engage the media politics of the period, especially television—a point expanded upon in Spigel 2008.

  • Donovan, Molly, ed. Warhol: Headlines. Munich: Prestel, 2011.

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    This exhibition catalogue considers the relation of Warhol’s drawings, paintings, films, and television programs to contemporary events, especially as presented in tabloid newspapers. Warhol was fascinated with celebrity gossip, sensational catastrophes, and more mundane press realities. This publication and its important art historical essays position this interest in the reporting of news as central to Warhol’s broad artistic practice.

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  • Ganis, William V. Andy Warhol’s Serial Photography. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

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    Toward the end of his career (1982–1987), Warhol made many works by stitching together his own black-and-white photographs with thread to make serialized compositions. This focused monograph considers these works in concert with Warhol’s larger artistic practice and broader issues in the history of photography.

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  • Heinrich, Christoph, Candace Britz, Reva Wolf, et al. Andy Warhol: Photography. Zürich, Switzerland: Edition Stemmle, 1999.

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    This substantial and generously illustrated exhibition catalogue considers Warhol’s career-long engagement with photographs. The images, as well as the book’s significant art historical essays, are broadly organized according to types of photographs: photographic source materials for paintings, Warhol’s photo booth portraits, Polaroids of celebrities, documentary images of the Factory, and so on.

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  • Joselit, David. “Yippie Pop: Abbie Hoffman, Andy Warhol, and Sixties Media Politics.” Grey Room 8 (2002): 62–79.

    DOI: 10.1162/15263810260201607Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Joselit compares Abbie Hoffman and Warhol. By detailing how both the political activist and the seemingly indifferent artist were interested in confusing the boundaries between figure and ground in the media, Warhol’s works from the 1960s are given a greater political dimension. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Ketner, Joseph D. Image Machine: Andy Warhol and Photography. Nuremberg, Germany: Verlag für Moderne Kunst, 2012.

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    This exhibition catalogue, with an illuminating framing essay by Joseph Ketner, explores the way that photography was not only foundational for his commercial work, pop paintings, and filmic “screen tests,” but also how Warhol was a photographer himself, documenting his life and inner circle with a camera. This well-illustrated volume draws on the thousands of photographs in Warhol’s possession at his death.

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  • Spigel, Lynn. “Warhol TV: From Media Scandals to Everyday Boredom.” In TV by Design. By Lynn Spigel, 284–298. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

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    Thinking both about his early films and about his later television appearances (on his own programs as well as network hits such as The Love Boat), Spigel argues that Warhol’s broadcast interventions provide an alternative concept of the medium counter to its three-network, consumerist orientation.

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Reception, Influence, and Market

In terms of Warhol’s influence on contemporary art since his death, as well as his sheer market-power, Warhol lives on. Rosenthal, et al. 2012 looks at the ways in which Warhol has influenced younger artists since the 1960s, and Deitch 2012 takes a more circumscribed approach, charting Warhol’s effects on recent abstract painting. Watney 1989 and Crimp 1999 posit that Warhol’s life and artistic practice should inspire scholars to emulate their subject and dispense with traditional disciplinary boundaries. Huyssen 1986 explores the leftist reception of Warhol’s works in West Germany in the late 1960s. Polsky 2003 uses Warhol as a case study to chart the recent and exponential expansion of the art market. Dormant 2011 notes the problems and contradictions in authenticating works by Warhol; he was an artist who himself questioned such notions of originality.

  • Crimp, Douglas. “Getting the Warhol We Deserve.” Social Text 59 (1999): 49–66.

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    Building on Watney 1989, Crimp argues for a broad cultural studies approach to Warhol. Taking issue with some important Warhol scholarship (Foster 1996, for example, cited under Pop Paintings in the 1960s), Crimp suggests that, since Warhol’s work destabilizes all labels, queer in the broadest sense of the term, scholars should not normalize it through established discursive categories.

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  • Deitch, Jeffrey, ed. The Painting Factory: Abstraction after Warhol. New York: Skira Rizzoli, 2012.

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    In its suggestion of Warhol as a point of origin, this exhibition catalogue brings together a group of young artists who view abstract painting as an expansive practice: One that relies on chance, technology, and/or the readymade. An essay by Rosalind Krauss on Warhol’s late paintings is joined by a vibrant roundtable discussion and short entries on thirteen artists, including Wade Guyton, Mark Bradford, and Julie Mehretu.

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  • Dormant, Richard. “What Andy Warhol Did.” New York Review of Books, 7 April 2011.

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    This article describes the now-defunct authentication process of the Andy Warhol Foundation through a close look at a single controversial case study. With Warhol’s intentional dismantling of traditional ideas of authorship, Dormant addresses the contradictions of Warhol authentication as well as the ties of the foundation to the art market. Dormant’s other articles in this publication, as well as the letters responding to these essays, are also of interest. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Huyssen, Andreas. “The Cultural Politics of Pop.” In After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism. By Andreas Huyssen, 141–159. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986.

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    Huyssen examines the reception of Warhol (and American pop art more broadly) in West Germany in the late 1960s, arguing that, in this later and foreign context, his works were read as critical of, not complicit with, capitalism. He attributes this political understanding with the student protests in West Germany and an internalization of the Marxist ideas of Herbert Marcuse.

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  • Polsky, Richard. I Bought Andy Warhol. New York: Abrams, 2003.

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    This book recounts the author’s purchase of a late Warhol self-portrait, using this experience as a means to investigate not only Warhol as an artist, but also the ways in which his works have stood at the pinnacle of a dynamic art market. The author is an art dealer.

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  • Rosenthal, Mark, Marla Prather, Ian Altevfeer, et al. Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012.

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    This is a substantial exhibition catalogue that charts Warhol’s influence on many artists since the 1960s, including Jeff Koons, Matthew Barney, Luc Tymans, and many others. While the critical framework of the lead essay lacks rigor, the catalogue is a wonderful visual introduction to Warhol’s continued legacy in contemporary art.

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  • Watney, Simon. “The Warhol Effect.” In The Work of Andy Warhol. Edited by Gary Garrels, 115–123. Dia Art Foundation Discussions in Contemporary Culture 3. Seattle: Bay Press, 1989.

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    Citing Michel Foucault, Watney argues that Warhol’s broad artistic and cultural practices demand an expansive and archaeological scholarly approach, one that leaves the realm of the “fine arts” and begins to cut across discursive realms.

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Broader Pop Context

Warhol is a fixture in the proliferating popular surveys of pop art. Livingstone 1992 and Collins 2012 place Warhol and pop in a broader international context, but the latter is updated and features a more coherent narrative. Crow 2004, also transatlantic in its considerations, focuses more on the period’s contentious politics, also situating pop among other currents of the 1960s, including minimal art and Fluxus. Foster 2011 concentrates on perhaps the five best-known pop artists, including Warhol. Ferguson 1992, keeps its eye on America, showing the evolution from abstract expressionism to pop. All of these books are well illustrated with color plates.

  • Collins, Bradford. Pop Art. London: Phaidon, 2012.

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    This readable survey argues for a more heterogeneous notion of pop, expanding its chronology to the 1980s, its geography to western Europe, and thematically in terms of the range of issues it addresses. Written by a Warhol specialist, the artist assumes a prominent role in this text.

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  • Crow, Thomas. The Rise of the Sixties: American and European Art in the Era of Dissent. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004.

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    This short and incisive general survey places pop art (and Warhol) in a larger field of art and dissent in the United States and western Europe in the late 1950s and 1960s.

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  • Ferguson, Russell, ed. Hand-Painted Pop: American Art in Transition, 1955–62. Los Angeles: Museum of Contemporary Art, 1992.

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    With nine important essays (three by curators Donna de Salvo and Paul Schimmel), this exhibition catalogue is a landmark publication. Its story charts the complicated narrative of the 1950s in New York: how American art moved from the abstract painting of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning to pop art. Robert Rauchenberg, Jasper Johns, and Cy Twombly play large roles as do the handmade, intentionally clunky early works of Warhol.

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  • Foster, Hal. The First Pop Age: Painting and Subjectivity in the Art of Hamilton, Lichtenstein, Warhol, Richter, and Ruscha. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011.

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    Bringing together aspects of Foster’s important work on these five artists associated with pop art and putting them in an international context (for example, see Foster 1996, cited under Pop Paintings in the 1960s), this readable book addresses the changing status of the media image and subjectivity in the individualized work of these distinct pop artists.

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  • Livingstone, Marco, ed. Pop Art: An International Perspective. New York: Rizzoli, 1992.

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    This exhibition catalogue was among the first attempts to define pop art as an international movement. With sections and concise essays on American, British, and European practitioners as well as their 1980s followers, this book provides a broad overview.

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