If he were alive today, Andy Warhol, whose birthday was celebrated just two days ago, would be thrilled with the multimedia-laden state of the world.
On this information-overloaded planet, we have TV celebrities becoming presidents, folks being famous for 15 minutes for doing nothing at all, and art created and distributed en masse like never before. Indeed, Warhol would be spinning in his grave if he knew what power a humble meme could hold.
Warhol would be spinning in his grave if he knew what power a humble meme could hold.
But the artist would also have appreciated the fact that media in its analogue, hardcopy form is also still appreciated, and he would certainly have loved the fact books about him are still being published.
One of our favourites is Warhol A-Z, a guide to the life of the man and the artist, appropriately illustrated (Warhol started out as a shoe illustrator, you see) with each item nicely summarised for today’s ADHD-style of reading.
From Adman (which Warhol also worked as) to Zeitgeist (of which he was forever the centre of), this alphabetised compendium is a must-have for lovers of pop art.
While the book features plenty of obvious objects (C for Campbell’s Soup Can, F for Factory), there are some fairly esoteric references included, like L for Last Supper (referring to Warhol’s bastardised version of the classic Da Vinci painting) and F for Fab Five Freddy, the graffiti artist who would go on to spray Warhol’s soup can onto the side of New York trains (and who’d later be referenced by Blondie in their hit Rapture).
Muses, movements, celebrities, wannabes, pretty much everyone and everything that was a fragment or a major part of Andy Warhol’s life garners a mention in this book.
Even Interview magazine, the publication Andy founded, which just two months ago saw its doors close for good, gets its own double-page spread.
Sadly, not all things analogue are meant to last. Antonino Tati
‘Warhol A-Z’ by Steve Wide with illustrations by Alice Oehr is available in hardcover RRP $29.99 at good bookstores, published by Smith Street Books.