Swans Commentary » swans.com September 6, 2010  



Andy Warhol: The Art Of The Commodity (5 Theses)


by Maxwell Clark





(Swans - September 6, 2010)  

1.   If my sense of Warhol's reception in letters is not awry, he is being gutted of all his richest political and economic ramifications. None seems capable of articulating both the presence and representation of late-capitalist relations in his archive. In other words, he has not sufficiently metabolized in our general intellect.

2.   Warhol's Brillo boxes are, I will hazard, a form of advertisement that intentionally misrecognizes itself as Art. Warhol's conceptual judo triumphs here only insofar as Art was already long ago debased into mass advertisement, yet unconscious of the fact. Warhol represents contemporary representations to us; he reproduces technological image-reproduction.

3.   The superimposition of high (elite) and low (mass) is pivotal to everything Warhol did.

4.   Warhol began his career doing shoe advertisements. The essential continuity between his early shoe advertisements and the art-world's spectacularization of his prints of shoe-images is obvious. Warhol theatricalized our society of bureaucratically-controlled consumption. He repeated capitalism's image-production of pure avarice in order to metamorphose it into an immanent autocritique, to place a question mark beside everything commercial. He framed the banal as an event, labored under an utter resignation to the promise of accelerating capital beyond its limits.

5.   This in no way exhausts Warhol's contribution. Rather it is the author who is exhausted at comprehending it here. Excuse.


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About the Author

Maxwell Clark is, rather paradoxically, a writer living in New Haven, CT. He has been published in the Socialist Worker (U.S.), the Socialist Review (U.K.), and the decomP literary magazine.   (back)


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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
URL for this work: http://www.swans.com/library/art16/clark04.html
Published September 6, 2010