1963 rented a studio space – called it The Factory – often when working in his studio he would play the same song over and over again – all day
Stars – Warhol was obsessed with Hollywood when he was young which provided much of the subject matter for his early Pop paintings – from the political world (JFK, Jackie Kennedy) and the entertainment world (Marilyn and Elvis)
Critics chose to see Warhol as a social commentator, painter using the devices of commercial art to expose the mediocrity and exploitiveness of popular culture. Warhol can indeed help us see these things, though most of us can see them for ourselves. “He simply likes the people he paints” – Warhol likes best those whose images shine the brightest – better yet, those who are images. Warhol likes stars”
Pop artists interested in manner in which commercialism permeated American Life – interest in celebrities – Warhol suggests that a celebrity was just like a can of Campbell’s soup – a commercial product.
Red Elvis 1962 (Acrylic and Silkscreen on linen)
Smouldering close-up photo of the singer’s face – repeated 36 times in black silkscreen on a background of screaming red
In repeating the image of the stars face – the image loses some of it’s intensity; no photograph, no matter how striking, can maintain its impact under this kind of pressure. To repeat it is to empty it of meaning. – fame is meaningless??
As the usual sort of power fades it is replaced by a new one
We begin to read the 36 Elvis’ as a single form – begin to see this not as a picture of Elvis but as a picture of a picture
We become aware of how bluntly the images of the media assault us – although Warhol never intended to present his art as a social criticism
Marilyn Monroe series – followed Marilyn’s suicide in August 196 (idea of death) can be seen as a homage to fame in the larger world.
Up to 1964 works usually monochrome, or artificial looking versions of naturalistic colours. After 1964 he pushed his palette further (eg. Pink and turquoise soup cans instead of red and white ones)
Another reason for repetition – changing and re-arranging of clothes for staged scenes and settings
Silkscreen used with deliberate crudity – preferred look of human error in mis-registration goes against usual artistic struggle for high quality
All if Warhol’s art has the cosmetic quality of colour and pattern laid down to enliven a surface, to generate allure…behind which, according to Warhol, is nothing.
Cow Wallpaper 1965 – turns art into wall paper
1965 – announced his retirement from painting – concentrated on his film making until he returned to painting in the early 1970’s – began his society portraits
Sometimes used familiar motifs from art history as subject matter eg. Cows, skulls even made pictures of Mona Lisa and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus
In the 1970’s did society portraits – revitalised the genre of portraiture – silkscreen’s over prepared grounds of textural brushwork.
Like Warhol, worked in design and display – but trained in ‘fine art’
1957-60 painted in Abstract Expressionist style
Like Warhol, wanted his art to ‘look programmed or impersonal’ mirroring the impersonality of mass culture as U.S entered the sixties
Life magazine billed him as ‘the worst artist in the United States’
Also did sculptural works – using enamel paint on steel
1961 – began painting enlarged frames of comics and images out of advertisements.
1961 – 63 Object painting – eg. Golf Ball 1962 oil on canvas – deadpan paintings of everyday objects in their singleness – no context – lines around object are uniform – simplified object to give impact of contemporary abstract painting – style of rendering resembles advertising sketches of the time
1961 Lichtenstein began producing paintings whose style – featuring heavy outlines and the Benday dots used to add tone in printing – and imagery were drawn from comics and advertisements – unconventional method/subject matter
Used for formal reasons – look copied but not – made numerous subtle yet important formal adjustments that clarified and strengthened the final image. “The cartoonist intends to depict and I intend to unify”
Impersonal style (although only in appearance) lessens emotional content
“ I want my work to look programmed or impersonal but I don’t believe I’m being impersonal while I do it”. – lack of physical evidence of process
Technique – first selects subject; makes small pencil sketches, which are projected onto canvas; makes detailed sketch on canvas, often paints with canvas upside down so he can concentrate on formal refinement “I think of it as an abstraction. Half the time they are upside down anyway, when I work”
Girl with Ball 1961
Taken from a newspaper ad for a resort – enlarged to a painting 5 feet by 3 feet – a bouncy woman in a one-piece swimsuit catches or throws a striped beach ball, the red slices of which correspond to the colour of her lips and open mouth
Comic books quoted in his paintings between 1961 -1965 – his best known work – comics had the look of anti-art – by using comics he challenged fine art conventions through appropriation of both images and techniques deemed to be crude and un-artistic
Used discredited images such as small advertisements in yellow pages, illustrations from mail order catalogues, adult looking romance and comic book strips.