By Gary Indiana
In the summertime of 1962, Andy Warhol unveiled 32 Soup Cans in his first solo exhibition on the Ferus Gallery in Los Angelesand despatched the paintings international reeling. The responses ran from incredulity to outrage; the poet Taylor Mead defined the exhibition as a excellent slap within the face to America.” The exhibition positioned Warhol at the mapand reworked American tradition ceaselessly. virtually single-handedly, Warhol collapsed the centuries-old contrast among high” and low” tradition, and created a brand new and considerably smooth aesthetic.
In Andy Warhol and the Can that offered the realm, the dazzlingly flexible critic Gary Indiana tells the tale of the genesis and influence of this iconic murals. With strength, wit, and super perspicacity, Indiana recovers the pleasure and controversy of the Pop paintings Revolution and the intense, tormented, and profoundly narcissistic determine at its leading edge.
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Extra info for Andy Warhol and the Can that Sold the World
He produced thousands of “private drawings” and collages and a smaller number of paintings, many now lost or destroyed; between 1952 and 1959, he collaborated with various “boyfriends” and others on privately printed books—A Is an Alphabet, 25 Cats Named Sam and One Blue Pussy, A La Recherche du Shoe Perdu, In the Bottom of My Garden, Wild Raspberries—whose contents were usually exhibited at the Bodley Gallery on East Sixtieth Street. The books themselves were typically presented as gifts to art directors and other of Warhol’s commercial clients and featured Julia Warhola’s distinctive, uneven handwriting, knotted with spelling errors, which Andy also employed for some of his advertising work.
But the principal showcase for Warhol’s work during this phase was a fashionable ice cream parlor and notions store, the Serendipity Café, owned by friends of Warhol’s who helped furnish his first apartment. These little exhibitions were worlds away from “the art A 33 9780465002337-text:Layout 1 11/30/09 9:45 AM Page 34 ANDY WARHOL AND THE CAN THAT SOLD THE WORLD world” that Warhol wanted into, the rarefied realm of art dealers like Sidney Janis, Betty Parsons, Tibor de Nagy, and Martha Jackson and artists like Barnett Newman, Willem de Kooning, and Robert Motherwell; the serious art of the day was heavy, portentous, and generally humorless, a thick imbroglio of polemics and agonic practices that an artist like Warhol, having nothing to offer, could only gaze at with somewhat baffled envy.
Like many art movements in Europe throughout the first half of the century, it initially roused interest, pro and con, within an artcentered elite, gradually became known to a wider public, and then became the subject of mass publicity. “The New York School,” “Abstract Expressionism,” or “Action Painting,” as it would variously be known, finally received the institutional embrace of the people whose business it was to shape public perception and bestow financial value on works of art. In the contemporary understanding of the term, there was no “art world” in the United States before 1945.