Andy Warhol and Pseudo-Individualization

By: Matthew Hall

Between 1961-1963, Andy Warhol was pop culture.. He had captured the public with his imagination and defined pop art. The most intriguing aspect of the 1960s is that it was a time that Americans really let celebrities stand for them. Never before had there been a president that people felt so connected to  until John F. Kennedy. The 1960s was when America lost its innocence. One of the saddest days amongst the 60s was the death of Marilyn Monroe. Although sad, Warhol wasted no time using her for the subject of his next series of paintings. The death of Monroe dawned a new technique amongst Andy’s style. He added vivid colors to his silkscreens. Still using the blotted line technique he painted twenty three Monroe paintings. The blotted line technique allowed for minor imperfections, giving a slightly different expression in each painting. When critiqued on the sloppiness of the art, Andy stated, “I like it that way, it’s part of the art.”

Andy understood a crucial matter that many other artists didn’t get. He understood that the painting of Monroe didn’t just represent Monroe. It represented Americans, all in different colors. This can be implied by knowing that, Marilyn Monroe is the object of our desire, we all want her, yet we can’t have her. However, we can have whatever picture of Monroe that suits our taste. Everyone is unified in the desire of what we can’t have, yet we individuate ourselves by the color choice we want our desire to come in. With the choice of painting, it bestows a sense of pseudo-individualization.

Andy became famous by making other people famous. He loved to look but not to touch, to see and not to connect, this was what Andy Warhol was all about. Andy surrounded himself with the most diverse group of people to ever enter a room. His factories consisted of high class intellectuals, drag queens, socialites, and aspiring actresses. Andy had a larger than life persona, and loved to surround himself with people who shared the same persona and passions. On Friday April 8th, 1966 Andy curated a multimedia event in which was all about the 1960s. The Exploding Plastic Inevitable offered music, film, and performance art. Footage of Nico spanned across the walls while the Velvet Underground strummed to every awkward note and Lou Reeds, too cool for school vocals. Other films by Warhol played throughout the evening with strobes and disco lights illuminating the elusive ballroom. For performance art, Gerard Malanga dressed in leather, lifting dumbbell’s, pretending to shoot up fake heroin into his arms with a ballpoint pen. All the while this was happening, Andy’s assistant’s walked through the crowd giving real injections of amphetamines through their clothes. Avant-garde filmmaker Jonas Mekas described the event, “I saw a mystical impresario structuring of temperaments, egos, and personalities who maneuvered it all into sound image and light symphonies of tremendous emotional and mental pitch…and somewhere in the shadow, totally unnoticeable but following every second and every detail of it was Andy Warhol.”

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