The Genius of Andy Warhol
Publication Date: November 1, 2009
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A major reassessment of the most influential and controversial American artist of the second half of the twentieth century
To his critics, he was the cynical magus of a movement that debased high art and reduced it to a commodity. To his admirers, he was the most important artist since Picasso. Indisputably, Andy Warhol redefined what art could be. As the quintessential Pop artist, he razed the barrier between high and low culture, taking as his subject matter comic books, tabloids, Hollywood publicity photos, and supermarket products. Through his films and the exotic milieu of the Factory, he exhibited an unprecedented talent for publicity and outrage, revealing an underworld of speed freaks, transvestites, and glittering, doomed superstars. Beneath the deceptively simple surface of his silk screens, the old hierarchies of art collapsed. Warhol's x-ray vision exposed the garish, vulgar, and irrepressible new world of 1960s America.
Focusing on that influential decade, Pop disentangles the myths of Warhol—fraught with contradictions—from the man he truly was, and offers a vivid, entertaining, and provocative look at the legendary artist's personal and artistic evolution during his most productive and innovative years. A detailed, insightful chronicle of his rise, as well as a critical examination of Warhol's most important works, this ground-breaking book sheds light on a man who remains an icon of the twentieth century. Drawing on brand-new sources—including extensive original interviews and insight from those who knew him best—Pop offers the most dynamic, comprehensive portrait ever written of the man who changed the way we see the world.
Tony Scherman is the author of Backbeat: Earl Palmer's Story, which won a 2000 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for excellence in music writing. He was an editor at Musician and Audio and a contributing editor at Life; he has written about art, music, American history, and American culture for dozens of publications, including the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Arts and Leisure section, Atlantic Monthly, Rolling Stone, Smithsonian, American Heritage, New York, Entertainment Weekly, and People. He was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in 1997. A magazine article he wrote that year about the poet-activist-professor Melvin Tolson was the basis for the 2007 Denzel Washington film The Great Debaters. He has two daughters and lives in Rockland County, New York.