New PDF release: Andy Warhol and the Can that Sold the World

By Gary Indiana

ISBN-10: 0465020984

ISBN-13: 9780465020980

In the summertime of 1962, Andy Warhol unveiled 32 Soup Cans in his first solo exhibition on the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles—and despatched the artwork international reeling. The responses ran from incredulity to outrage; the poet Taylor Mead defined the exhibition as “a tremendous slap within the face to America.” The exhibition positioned Warhol at the map—and reworked American tradition eternally. virtually single-handedly, Warhol collapsed the centuries-old contrast among “high” and “low” tradition, and created a brand new and noticeably sleek aesthetic.

In Andy Warhol and the Can that bought the realm, the dazzlingly flexible critic Gary Indiana tells the tale of the genesis and influence of this iconic murals. With strength, wit, and super perspicacity, Indiana recovers the pleasure and controversy of the Pop paintings Revolution and the intense, tormented, and profoundly narcissistic determine at its leading edge.

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But the homemade American product arrived Handi-Wrapped in star-spangled clichés of cowboy individualism, the churning inner torment of the artist to “express” himself (it was all but exclusively “him”), and alcohol-ravaged, self-immolating struggles to achieve pure painting as its own raison d’être, painting without reference to a world beyond the canvas. Despite the non-objective and hermetic bent of “the New Painting”—whether one called it Action Painting, Abstract Expressionism, or an exemplar of the New York School (to simplify matters, these terms can be collapsed into Abstract Expressionism, or simply “the New Art”)—its inherent notions of heroicism, of evoking spiritual vastness, of wrestling with the ineffable and taming it into iconography, had deep roots in the eulogistic Noble Savagery and primal wilderness themes of sublimity found in earlier American painters like Thomas Cole, Frederick Church, and Homer Dodge Martin; it shared something of the same provincialism and the same conflation of white male heterosexual subjectivity with “universal” values and emotions.

The pod people can exist free of grief, romantic love, disappointment, joy, and everything else that might be associated with “soul”: Finney’s dystopian fantasia had myriad offshoots in films and fictions about “cold” scientists who viewed a zombielike unanimity as the solution to all human conflict. “Imagine a world without pain, without feeling,” was a standard mad scientist’s enticement in this kind of movie to recalcitrant individualists who resisted being replaced by communitarian duplicates.

Atomic Armageddon quickly became the metaphorical fodder for hundreds of B movies—Godzilla, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Blob, It Came from Outer Space, These Are the Damned, Tarantula, The Incredible Shrinking Man, Attack of the Fifty-Foot Woman, The Thing, and When Worlds Collide, to name a few. (When the cultural wheel finally turned and perpetual menace reached its inevitable saturation point, apocalypse met its slapstick match in Terry Southern’s script for Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. ) Television provided nightly seizures of constipating terror with thermonuclear disaster narratives in programs like The Outer Limits, Way Out, and The Twilight Zone.

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Andy Warhol and the Can that Sold the World by Gary Indiana

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