I AM SORRY TO REPORT that Andy Warhol’s throwaway sensibility is not being turned into landfill, at least not anytime soon. Toss Warhol’s stuff in the trash and it appears in recycling, invariably with a higher price tag. Half a century after he became the artist of the moment, Warhol is more with us than ever, now the throwaway with a takeaway in which many see the key to the art of our time as well as the art of the future. Warhol has become his own ism. Warholism is the dominant ism of our day, grounded as it is in the assumption that popular culture trumps all other culture, and that all culture must become popular culture in order to succeed, and that this new high-plus-pop synergy relieves everybody of the responsibility to experience works of art one on one. The belligerent knowingness of Warholism is what fuels “Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years,” the extraordinarily elaborate exhibition now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Nearly everybody agrees that the show is a mess, although few seem to have stopped to wonder if Warholism is the reason why.
Source: The New Republic.
A copy of Macdonald’s Against the American Grain, which contains the essay mentioned in the above review, “Masscult & Midcult”, can be found here.