Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Andy Warhol’s Bad

It is rare that a work of art is in complete harmony in style, material, execution and subject.  I was fortunate enough to come across an example yesterday.

It is a statue dedicated to the memory of Andy Warhol located in Union Square, the nation’s epicenter of pretension and expensive bad taste.  The statue, named The Andy Monument with a sort of haunting concision, looks as if it were made of papier-mâché covered with tin foil.  The Warhol figure sports sunglasses, camera and shopping bag, either as a nod to his vulgar commercialism or to the hoards of tourists who pass him by.  As an example of the puerility that was Andy Warhol, it would be hard to beat.

Before we go, a few words about Andy Warhol (1928-1987).  Perhaps the greatest mountebank and con artist in the history of American art, Warhol did much to ‘deconstruct’ the meaning of art and what it meant to be an artist.  It will take several decades for art history to get past his crass pop star poses and errant crack-pottery before relegating him to the dust bin, but until then we have this supremely ugly monument by which to remember him.  It’s junk, but it’s better than he deserves.

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