May 18, 2006

Andy Warhol

Posted by Xun  |  No comments


On Saturday, we went to the Museum of Contemporary Art. Except the multitude of very busy, noisy family activities on the first floor, ANDY WARHOL's exhibition "SUPERNOVA: Stars, Deaths, and Disasters",
was the only thing I remembered, cared and thought about.

I could not understand his works. All seemed boring, chaotic, perfunctory, and repetitious. I later learned all the work was mass produced in his so-called "factory", with slight variation applied later so each version had a slightly different look. I found it disturbing to see the grid of dark-colored, shaded, wide-opened mouths of Marilyn Monroe, a series of grainy reproduction of Jackie Kennedy's snap-shots, juxtaposed in grid, like a bad old yellowish newspaper. The famed "Campbell's soup" seemed outdated and molded and silly, like a stereotyped old movie.

With the little time I had, I leafed through the few books by or about Andy Warhol scattered around the museum hall, especially "The philosophy of Andy Warhol". I was puzzled, mystified and intrigued.

Later I searched Andy Warhol on the Internet. There are pages and pages of his works, Marilyn Monroe, Elisabeth Taylor, just as I have seen in the museum. However, while in my mind all the images have faded tired look, the reprints on the web were hilariously cheerfully bright (eg. the Mao's portrait).

I searched for his biography, wishing maybe I could read a bit more "The Philosophy of Andy Warhol". None. There is closed to nothing. The closest I could find is a page dryly running through the laundry list of his works (paintings, films, books...), a bit of his background, and the "Factory".

On the knowing-all, all-encompassing Wikipedia, I only found this one sentence:

"Andy Warhol (August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987) was an American painter, filmmaker, publisher, actor, and a major figure in the Pop Art movement", followed by a long long list of Andy Warhol's quotes.

(Today I went back, the entry has been modified on May 17th. It has added lengthy details on his paintings and films. Still not very much more from what I have gleaned from the web)

His quotes are much more interesting than his art, simple, insightful, honest and funny. The two quotes of his about "15-minute-fame" is already a cliche. His quote "I am a deeply superficial person" struck me as very true.

I wish I had said the same about myself. Actually I did, many times. Only his superficial-ness plus his genius makes him interesting, mine plus my nothing-less makes me boring.

Thursday, May 18, 2006
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