IWhat do you really know about Andy Warhol? Why and how do you know his name? Even if you’ve not read any of the numerous biographies of his life, you probably know he painted Soup Cans and Marilyn Monroe. But you’ve been misled on purpose because these really aren’t paintings at all. Someone on Warhol’s team dreamed up the name, “direct painting medium” to deceive you into not realizing these works are photomechancial prints of photographs Warhol didn’t take himself.

 

 

Painting implies easels, brushes, careful or careless color choices, and time. These PMTs were an early manual form of today’s photoshop, and that perhaps is an innovation. And the result has an aesthetic whether you like it or not. So I concede it may actually be art, just not the art you thought it was. Gerard Melanga, who led the PMT team at Warhol’s factory during the ’60s, revealed the Warhol “deception” long ago, in a 1974 interview given to the publication Gay Sunshine“Andy’s whole trip was that he wanted something for nothing. Andy used what was available simply because he had no intellectual power or capacity with which to embrace art, there was nothing intellectual about the art except what some art critic wanted to read into it merely to sound intelligent.” Seemingly forever unmentioned are the source creators who made Warhol’s art possible in the first place. In this case, Gene Korman was the original photographer of the Marilyn Monroe publicity photograph that Warhol used. Neither Warhol nor an artist he allowed to appropriate Marilyn, Elaine Sturtevant, ever credited Korman. And the Soup Cans? The source photograph was made by Edward Wallowitch. It’s as if the theft is ok and even artful, as long as the original creator is unmentioned. 

This has its analogy in corporate generated art such as advertising. Unsigned by it’s actual human creator, there is no soul to it. There is nothing at its core except the machine. Yet it demands to be taken seriously, to be treated equally. This insistence over time has triggered a subtle dehumanization process, now visible, bringing us perilously close to an era where a majority of humans may not care if it is an AI-machine that makes the advert, the art or the novel. It’s been a slow grinding down and here we are. You could argue no. Insist that Warhol is a great artist because he thought of the “idea”. But what if it wasn’t even his idea? What if you knew prolific novelist Muriel Roberta Latow gave Warhol the idea for the Soup Cans during a brainstorming dinner. What if you knew Warhol’s friends at the Serendipity Cafe suggested he make a Marilyn picture?  Is this really your idea of a true artist, one deserving of being the #1 exhibited artist in the world every year for at least the past decade? Were you to sit at your computer and colorize someone else’s photograph, does that make you an artist? Perhaps yes. In America, judges have ruled that if you substantially transform any image, you are now the recognized artist and creator. But what if someone told you exactly which image to colorize? To make it bigger? To remove the wrinkles? Are you still a genuine artist? It’s all much less than our ideal of the artist working alone, the individual with a vivid and unique imagination, with his or her own talents and style derived over time. As an artist who knows other artists, that indeed is how it has been. Even when others collaborate with us, the idea, the vision, that spark of life, somehow, originates within us.

 

Sean Peter is the author of AntiWarhol, a dark and detailed deconstruction of the Warholian mythos. https://antiwarhol.com

ANTIWARHOL

IWhat do you really know about Andy Warhol? Why and how do you know his name? Even if you've not read any of the numerous biographies of his life, you probably know he painted Soup Cans and Marilyn Monroe. But you've been misled on purpose because these really aren't...

EVO II Drones series

Evo II Drones SERIES Cette nouvelle gamme se compose de 3 drones : le EVO II Standard, le EVO II Pro et le EVO II Dual.   Leur batterie rechargeable de 7100 mAh offre une autonomie de 40 minutes en vol et utilise également un nouveau système breveté, nommée...

Tailor-Made: Fashion Photographs from the Collection of Peter Fetterman

Phillips  announce Tailor-Made: Fashion Photographs from the Collection of Peter Fetterman , an exclusive online auction that celebrates a century of fashion photography, tracing the history of women’s fashion through 64 quintessential images spanning from the 1920s...

Portraits of Humanity 2019 Winners revealed.

The 50 winning and 200 shortlisted Portrait of Humanity images have been announced.  1854 Media, publisher of British Journal of Photography, in partnership with Magnum Photos, have created Portrait of Humanity - an award aiming to unite the global community through...

Magnum Photographer Paolo Pellegrin Anthology

Paolo Pellegrin is known today as one of the world’s leading photojournalists and conflict photographers. The winner of ten World Press Photo awards and the Robert Capa Gold Medal (among many others), he has been a full member of Magnum since 2005.

Reform and Dreams – Kings Cross

A brand new free photography exhibition celebrating the 40th anniversary of China’s Reform and Opening up will launch on Monday 10 December at London’s Kings Cross Station.   Commissioned by the China International Culture & Image Communication Corporation “Reform...

How do you photograph fracking?

Since September 2018, photographer Rhiannon Adam has been documenting individuals on both sides of the fracking debate. For Adam, listening to an individual’s story dictates how she photographs them. Her ultimate aim: to redirect the narrative away from the singular...

ON1 Photo Raw 2019 is available.

ON1 Photo RAW 2019 – An All-New Photo Editing Experience Now Available   ON1, Inc announces that ON1 Photo RAW 2019, an all-new photo editing experience and a major upgrade to ON1 Photo RAW, is available today. ON1 Photo RAW 2019 includes all-new features and...

Portraits of Humanity. Judging Panel announced.

  1854 Media, publisher of British Journal of Photography, together with Magnum Photos have announced the international judging panel for PORTRAIT OF HUMANITY  The judging panel of Portrait of Humanity is comprised of international industry leaders, from...

Alys Tomlinson EX-VOTO

Alys Tomlinson, Sony World Photographer of the Year 2018, is to publish a book of her acclaimed series Ex-Voto. Selected from over 300,000 entries, she is only the second British photographer in the award’s history to scoop the major prize. The Ex-Voto series was also...

Juries announced for the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards

The World Photography Organisation is delighted to announce the juries of the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards, the world’s most diverse photography competition. To mark the occasion, a selection of entries to the Open competition are released, and the Chair of...

Portraits of Humanity

Sony World Photography Awards launches its 2019 edition with new categories and announces latest Sony Grant winner      The World Photography Organisation today opens the 12th edition of the Sony World Photography Awards, the world’s most diverse photography...

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates fromShades Of Grey Fine Art Photography Magazine.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This