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Who gives a shit about Andy Warhol?

January 6, 2014

When I walked through the art fairs in December in Miami I noticed that Warhol was as popular as ever. Not only his work but also photos of him were being sold for ridiculous prices. It was almost like if you just whispered his name, you make money.
I believe Warhol has become a false prophet of the art world. He seems to be worshipped by so many for no reason.
In Warhol’s day he wanted to be a machine and create a factory where art (his art) could be accessible to many people. This was a revolution. It was a new standard in making art. But this began 30 years ago.
Of course the concept of an artist using assistants to help make art under his name was not a new one. But Warhol was one of the first artists to create pieces that were not the same but very similar to each other. He gave the wealthy a new way to plaster their faces on their walls. He made people believe that in the future anybody could be famous and therefore special in some way.

Now Warhol’s work has become like trading cards for the rich. The works have become a right of passage in some circles. You have a Hermes Birkin bag, a gold Rolex watch, a Warhol. People desperately try to own Marilyn Monroe’s face or a Soup Can because the pieces are easily understandable and recognizable as a Warhol and everybody they know would know how much money it cost.
Today artists like Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst have followed his example. I admire what these people have done but I also loathe them. I believe that art should show a viewer a different point of view that expands their mind or a new technique. Often these Kings of the art do not do that.
Jeff Koons
These people employ hundreds to create work based on something these ‘artists’ did at one time that is often easy to understand even for a young child and then charge crazy high-prices for pieces they never worked on and which people fight over. These prices do not reflect the quality of work or the groundbreaking material that the pieces should encompass. They reflect taking advantage of the freak show of wealthy buyers that do not know the true value of good art and where many of them work, live, and play in a world where needing to be and having the best is like breathing air.

Jeff Koons with assistants in studio (left) Damien Hirst's assistants preparing formaldehyde for Shark (right).

Jeff Koons with assistants in studio (left) Damien Hirst’s assistants preparing formaldehyde for Shark (right).

What disappoints me in the new reign of Kings of Pop Art (like the most common Pop Art that Warhol made famous) is that many of these pieces do not challenge the mind or spirit. They were made to make money. Art has become more like a business than a creative outlet because of these ‘artists’.

I realize I do make these statements in partial frustration being an artist. I long for art to be able to take the next steps in creativity and passion instead of watching buyers fight over a black and white painting of a bottle of Coke. It boggles my mind why buyers haven’t moved past the $1+mil Warhol’s and sought out the new work from younger artists that have the ability to keep producing? Why if people are spending millions of dollars on art are they not educating themselves to buy more complicated concepts than those of Pop Art (which is the Level 1 of understanding art)? Or why these luxury buyers have not realized that real luxury is owning an original piece of art that is unlike any other?

Of course I know everyone who buys art at a certain level wants to know that the investment they are making is a good one. You do not want to spend money on something one day and then find out its worth nothing the next. But every King’s reign must end to make way for the future.

As a new year begins, I have a lofty dream – that this year buyers would say to themselves: “Who gives a shit about Andy Warhol. I want to see something new…something that excites me…something that is different.” I have a dream that people who have the ability to buy art could start appreciating art in technique and subject matter as opposed to something that would impress others. The art world needs this to thrive in the future.

The King is dead…long live the King.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Munt permalink
    March 24, 2016 1:06 pm

    I saw warhol’s early work exhibition. Contains a lot of sketch books. Even at sketch level he showed no discernible talent

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