By Gary Indiana
In the summertime of 1962, Andy Warhol unveiled 32 Soup Cans in his first solo exhibition on the Ferus Gallery in Los Angelesand despatched the artwork international reeling. The responses ran from incredulity to outrage; the poet Taylor Mead defined the exhibition as a fantastic slap within the face to America.” The exhibition positioned Warhol at the mapand reworked American tradition ceaselessly. virtually single-handedly, Warhol collapsed the centuries-old contrast among high” and low” tradition, and created a brand new and extensively glossy aesthetic.
In Andy Warhol and the Can that bought the realm, the dazzlingly flexible critic Gary Indiana tells the tale of the genesis and effect of this iconic murals. With strength, wit, and large perspicacity, Indiana recovers the excitement and controversy of the Pop paintings Revolution and the intense, tormented, and profoundly narcissistic determine at its leading edge.
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Extra resources for Andy Warhol and the Can that Sold the World
From scattered beginnings in the 1930s, New York– based “modernist” art gained heft and traction during and after World War II. Like many art movements in Europe throughout the first half of the century, it initially roused interest, pro and con, within an artcentered elite, gradually became known to a wider public, and then became the subject of mass publicity. “The New York School,” “Abstract Expressionism,” or “Action Painting,” as it would variously be known, finally received the institutional embrace of the people whose business it was to shape public perception and bestow financial value on works of art.
Dondero and company caused endless trouble for the State Department, which endorsed Eisenhower’s strategically liberal view of modernist art. The artist should be free to realize his or her autonomous vision without state interference. “As long as artists are at liberty to feel with high personal intensity, as long as our 40 9780465002337-text:Layout 1 11/30/09 9:45 AM Page 41 LEAP OF FATE artists are free to create with sincerity and conviction, there will be a healthy controversy and progress in art,” Eisenhower declared in an address on freedom in the arts in 1954.
Instead, over time, it enriched the small, elite group of collectors whose purchases were gradually ratified by institutional acquisition of the same artists. “Buy low, sell high” is the enduring principle of the art world as well as the stock market. In time, the artists too would materially benefit, but then, as now, they pushed the caboose on the gravy train. 27 9780465002337-text:Layout 1 11/30/09 9:45 AM Page 28 ANDY WARHOL AND THE CAN THAT SOLD THE WORLD Although the New Art initially garnered more publicity than actual sales, what Greenberg and the Abstract Expressionists devised, avant la lettre, was the phenomenon of “personal branding”: the assertion of individualism by marketing a distinctively packaged brand of the same product, brought to you by a distinct and vivid personality.
Andy Warhol and the Can that Sold the World by Gary Indiana