David Bowie does a great portrayal of Andy Warhol in the movie Basquiat. He is all tentative and shy but commands this great presence at the same time. I have no idea if this is what the actual Andy Warhol was like, but he is certainly massively influential when it comes to the narrative of Western art.
Images such as this one are instantly recognizable as by Warhol, as they have so completely entered the domain of popular culture. They are on T-shirts and coffee cups around the world. And this is just what Warhol would have wanted. Art, in Warhol’s conception, was far too precious and self-absorbed. He burst onto an art scene where the American Abstract Expressionists were all making art about their feelings, and creating art for art’s sake alone. Warhol totally rejected this idea of art as distanced from the everyday world of advertising, product placement and consumerism. Instead, these were the biggest influences on his work.
His infamous studio was called ‘The Factory’ and it was here that Warhol mass produced vast numbers of printed canvases. Pieces such as this one, Marilyn Diptych, were created through the technique of silk screens. This allowed him to reproduce the images endlessly, sometimes even making several versions of the same work. In this way, Warhol was totally subverting the conventional art hierarchy and an art world which valued uniqueness so highly.