Andy Warhol & the Power of Intuition

Mario Suriani, Associated Press Photo

Mario Suriani, Associated Press Photo

During the 1960s, I think, people forgot what emotions were supposed to be. And I don’t think they’ve ever remembered.
I am a deeply superficial person
And I just hate the Trumps because they never bought my Trump Tower portraits. And I also hate them because the cabs on the upper level of their ugly Hyatt Hotel just back up traffic so badly around Grand Central now and it takes me so long to get home.
— Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol is not remembered as a sensitive artist. I believe that he made a conscious decision to hide behind an armor of apathy. Reading his quotes, Warhol makes it sound like he craps out easy art for the selfish purpose of fame, fortune, and notoriety. But if you imagine the wigs, glasses, omnipresent cameras, and aloof wonderment as a protective tortoise shell for a gentle soul, Andy Warhol becomes something entirely different. Warhol was a master printer and even taught Robert Rauschenberg how to screenprint but he acted like he was a detached Henry Ford type figure, only interested in cranking out flat, vapid duplicates. If you see his work in a book, you might think it is a) plagiarism and b) just the same thing over and over.

Upon closer inspection, repetition is where Andy's brilliance shone brightest - he would take a well known image, make it his own, and then iterate - making experimental alterations every single time. One of my favorite bodies of work is his Death and Disaster series - it included race riots, car accidents, and electric chairs. It reflects a society more fixated on violent imagery and salacious headlines than human mortality - and the work only becomes more interesting with the modern 24 hour news cycle and the internet. The variation of the prints also plays with the distorting power of perception and interpretation.

Finally, to highlight Warhol's masterful precognitive abilities, take a few moments to closely investigate the details of this screenprint of O.J. Simpson from 1977.