Putting rights issues through the looking glass. Not seeking answers, just some food for thought to see whether things could be any different!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Art for the Masses: Andy Warhol and the Pop Art Movement

I am no expert on art and its nuances. I don't understand frames, colours and the emotions that these colours represent. But, I do appreciate finer things in life and they always catch my eye.
The first time I saw Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe piece, I was bowled over. I saw it in some glossy magazine years ago and immediately cut it out and kept it somewhere. I have misplaced the cut-out but the fascination with Andy Warhol and his images (I don't call them pictures or paintings as they don't strictly fit any of these definitions) continues.
Andy Warhol forwarded the legacy of the pop art movement and how? The pop art movement began in the 1950s in the United States and England and it was represented through comic books, advertisement boards and banners- symbols of popular culture. The aim of the pop art movement, initiated by the likes of Richard Hamilton and Jasper John was to simplify and bring art to the masses and rid it of its elitist colour. It was defined as popular, less academic art......
It was criticised in the beginning by the snooty, stuck up elites as a cheap consumerist trick but soon the movement gained momentum and the rest, as they say, is history......( how Andy Warhol immortalised Marilyn Monroe through that one image!)
Warhol began his career as a commercial artist in the 1950s and later forayed into pop art by printing and improvising on images of consumer brands like Coca Cola and celebrities like Marilyn and Elvis. His famous art studio Factory (wonder where Ram Gopal Verma got the name of his company from....even that is not original??) in New York became a grand piazza of sorts for the likes of Truman Capote, David Bowie, Mick Jagger etc.
He carried his love for finer things in life beyond his art. He made films and wrote books. He was an artist, in the truest sense of the term. I haven't read his books or seen his movies and I don't know how good or bad they are but I have seen his images and I bow before his genius. This world runs on ideas and a good idea can never fail and he has proved that beyond all reasonable doubt! As he himself had once said, "They say that time changes things,but you actually have to change them yourself" and yes, he did change a lot during his time and for the times to come. He played a major part in making art accessible. One day, I dream,among many other things, to own an Andy Warhol image.
He died in 1987 following a gall bladder surgery and his legacy continues through the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts which was set up in 1987, as per his will. Please visit their website at http://www.warholfoundation.org/
Read more about Warhol and his life on Wikipedia and see his fascinating images on http://www.warhols.com/