Critically discuss the work of an artist in terms of style, meaning and historical and theoretical context. Andy Warhol

Authors Avatar

Reading Art

AF 1005


W. Schwind

Critically discuss the work of an artist in terms of style, meaning

and historical and theoretical context.

Andy Warhol

        The parameters with which we define art are always under constant organic change. New ways of understanding concepts of art are at best problematic as new movements force the visual spectator to at times disavowal all notions and familiarities with what they interpret art to be. The emergence of a new art movement enables critics to redefine their own theories and understandings, in essence, to reconceptualise art theory. This is an interesting phenomenon when it takes place, one that truly exposes the theorization and ideologies of art. The emergence of Pop Art in the 1950’s in Britain and its vivacious inception into American society is one such movement that captures this broadening of art. Andy Warhol was one of the movements’ most prolific artists, helping to truly affirm the position of Pop Art as a credible, enlightening and in Warhol’s conception, groundbreaking art form.

        Abstract Expressionism had been thoroughly institutionalized within art history since the Second World War and the arrival of Pop Art and its methods ultimately appeared as a reaction against this school of art. Pop Art found its imagery and techniques from the sociological climate of the sixties in which consumerism was fueled by the mass productivity ethos of the time. Certain artists began to aspire to a hard-edged style of art; one that Suzi Gablik believes led to a ‘moral strategy’ facilitated ‘to avoid tasteful choices and to set the stake higher’. The most profound realization of this strategy was to be the use of found or ready-made objects within pieces of artwork. Warhol was one of the main propagators of this method, a style of painting that would for the first time blemish the distinct qualities between ‘high’ and ‘low’ art and find the artist striped of his autonomy.

        In Andy Warhol, Rainer Crone asserts what the primarily motivation should be when reading the work of Warhol,

Any attempt to describe or analyze Warhols painting “must consider

                   the conditions of reality reflected as more important than the work


Join now!

         This is an especially intuitive comment, one that needs to be taken seriously when judging the impact with which Warhol’s work had on the public sphere and throughout art criticism. His subject matter was entirely different to everything that had gone before, using pictures, newspaper cuttings, celebrities and ‘house-hold named’ objects in his art, he took his images out of the public body literature. This form of ‘found’ art that lends itself to the term popular is the basis for a theoretical understanding of Warhol’s designs. Furthermore, the mode of production used, the silk-screen method, became his sole catalyst ...

This is a preview of the whole essay