Sydney Walters is unafraid of voicing her opinion about the art world and feminism. She recently hashed out some of her frustrations and thoughts about the obsession with Andy Warhol and poses the question of whether his genius is actually goodness.
Below is Sydney's article, taken from her blog, sydneywaltersart.tumblr.com:
Images of Marilyn Monroe and The Beatles would not be circulated nearly as frequently had it not been for Andy Warhol. Abbey Road would not be screen printed on t-shirts, wallets or posters and Monroe’s lips would not be iconic had Warhol not mastered the art of replication.
The brilliance of Warhol was that he became a mirror to culture’s machinery. He observed that we put celebrities through the wringer; that grocery stores shelf factory surplus; that we have more pasta options than we have pots. (But don’t worry, you can always buy more pots.) Warhol threw our Brillo boxes, our soup cans and our newspapers back at us to exploit our consumerism. In his practice, he critiqued consumerism by becoming a factory. However, despite his creative practice, we need to distinguish between genius and goodness.
Ingenuity is not always good. We were made to be creative and it was a good thing Warhol created. It was a good thing he pointed out truth in our culture. And truth is always good. Yet there is a key element to Warhol’s overarching practice that he neglects, and that is our ability to change. Warhol did not have faith in man’s capability to break habits. A body of work about the anesthetized is motivated by faithlessness. Hopelessness is not good. Goodness gives us life and makes us better humans. Warhol did not make good art. It is our job to reject the notion that we are hopeless. Otherwise, what it left?
Warhol certainly gives us an uncanny prediction of destroying original material through tireless replication. This idea is particularly potent in our current age of technology. Warhol offers wisdom but how can his art help us become wise? In other words, how can we move past Warhol? He foresaw a progression of the machine. Will we accept his prophesy or move towards change? How can we cultivate a breathing, organic, evolving life which hinges on the nourishment of the spirit? How can we create relevant, progressive and challenging art to broadcast the good? Good work does not mean without acknowledgment of the ugly. In fact, it is by means of the ugly that we discern the good. Yet our creativity must have threads of hope. A light of optimism is our first step towards change.