Friday, September 22, 2006

I Don't Like Andy Warhol, Part 3

Just because I don't like Andy Warhol doesn't mean he didn't come up with some smashing paintings. I liked a lot of his single-image, silk-screened paintings--Marilyn, Jackie, himself, Mick Jagger, those big flowers. Some of them are stunning. But there was an awful lot of dreck as well (like I should throw stones, but still...).

And the movies. Sheesh. As everyone agrees so tiresomely, Warhol's influence continues to reverbrate through the art community. One might say that the spirit of films like Sleep, for instance, live on in the countless video installations that plague Chelsea these days. Did you get to the Whitney Biennial last year and see the fake commercial for Caligula? Classic Jenny Holtzer Syndrome--cute once or twice, clever, stimulating even, but quickly evolving into tiresome. And that was one of the better video installations.

At one point over the summer, one Chelsea gallery was showing Warhol's blowjob movie--half an hour or so of watching the face of a guy getting a blowjob. There's a website, by the way, the name of which escapes me--terrible agony dot com or something like that--where you can select a similar viewing experience from hundreds of thumbnails. It's a pay site, though, so don't rush out.

In the end it boils down to the ratio of quantity to quality. Country music, for instance, is a leader in this area. This doesn't suggest that country music is without merit; it just means that you have to wade through an alarmingly high amount of complete crap ("She Thinks My Tractor Is Sexy") before stumbling onto something good. Rap music is also a category leader. Warhol's oeuvre (or oeuf, whichever isn't the egg) also scores high.

But the absolute tops in quantity to quality ratio would have to be video installations.

For which we can, in part, thank Andy.

Which is one more reason why I don't like him.


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