The Works of Andy Warhol Essay

The Works of Andy Warhol Essay

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The Pop Arts' movement began in the late 50's and early 60's. Dubbed, the founding father of the movement, Andy Warhol brought forward society's obsession with mass culture and allowed it to become the subject of art itself. Using many techniques such as isolation, repetition and colour placement, Warhol brought to the world of art his views on materialism, politics, economics and the media. Andy was quick to warn his admirers and critics, ?do not look any deeper than the surface of my art and my life' (Bockris 21). Andy Warhol produced works that defied the popular notion of what art should be. Warhol's works were meant to be taken at face value, for nothing more than what they portrayed on the surface. While he stressed this superficial attitude about his art, his works were often the cause of debate and influenced public opinion like no other cultural figure in North America ( Shanes 5 ). Through his series with common images, celebrities and death, Warhol teaches us that surface images have a lot to say about pop culture. By exploring and learning more about the artist who opened so many doors in the art world, one can see why looking at the surface of his works often meant seeing and understanding so much more about the society in which we live.

Warhol's Campbell's soup cans are arguably some of his most famous works. Warhol wanted us to look at the simple image of the can for what it represented to our culture. He challenged "old fashioned" critics to overcome their ideas of art as complex and incomprehensible by using simple, common images. Warhol's selection of the soup can may be the most important part of the work he did with them. He wanted to display his view of America and to him eating Campbell's soup represented being American. Andy wanted to explore these common images that are part of our everyday lives, which we accept without hesitation. In his painting 32 Soup Cans ( Shanes 53 ), one can note his prominent use of repetition. Warhol often used this technique to magnify the appearance of objects produced mechanically in large quantities. By choosing 32 different varieties of cans Warhol was forcing the viewer to look hard and study his painting to see the difference between each can. He made us realize the way in which we looked at art, always carefully examining and looking for a deeper, hidden meaning beneath the surface. On the outsi...


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...e Electric Chairs, Electric Chair ( Gidal 36 ) the object, the chair is the focal point of the piece. We are in no way confused about the message of the painting. In true Warhol style, it is not necessary to search for a deep meaning. The appearance of emptiness and loneliness is immediately visible. The only words in the picture, ?silence', are taken in subconsciously. The well chosen image makes a statement in itself.

The success of Warhol's work during the sixties made him an immensely popular artist.

At first glance Warhol's images appear to be simple. But, it is that simplicity that allowed these images to have such a huge visual impact when the viewer could associate with them. Warhol exemplified the meaning of Pop Art. Though his works may be simple and surface oriented we can see that Warhol had a very accurate understanding of pop culture. He used imagery from popular culture as a means of criticizing contemporary society. His images and ideas were all easily accessible for the audience. Emerging as arguably the most famous American artist, Andy Warhol opened up many important doors and minds in the art world which modern artists are still benefitting from today.

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