Tuesday, March 8, 2005

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"... Your own life while it's happening to you never has any atmosphere until it's a memory. So the fantasy corners of America seem atmospheric because you've pieced them together from scenes in movies and music and lines from books. And you live in your dream America that you've custom-made from art and schmaltz and emotions just as much as you live in your real one."
—Andy Warhol

So still wife-less and baby-less until the 18th, I had a day off yesterday and took a trek up to Eugene to check out this Andy Warhol exhibit at the University of Oregon's museum. I've always enjoyed Warhol's bright pop art, and having a show of nearly 100 screenprints less than a hour from home was worth checking out. I'm no art critic, so I can't tell you exactly what is about Warhol that grabs me in any sort of eloquent fashion. On the one hand, you're looking at copies of copies of pictures of soup cans, Mick Jagger, shoes, Marilyn Monroe, Chairman Mao and the like – there's no reason that these images should have any more depth to you than a picture of a squirrel in the newspaper. Yet Warhol works, somehow - it's a soup can, but the very act of staring at it makes it both a soup can and an open-ended object to you, getting you thinking about whatever art makes you think about.

Again, I'm no art critic and don't have the vocabulary to explain my appreciation for Warhol that I wish I did. I guess part of me has always liked the sunshine colors of Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein because they remind me a bit of comic books (Lichtenstein even more so, obviously), and their knack for appropriation as communication. They were samplers before sampling took over music, mix-tape artists. Does it mean anything? Well, like all art, I guess it means whatever you want it to, and there's room in there for everything from Da Vinci to Keith Haring. I just like soup cans and Hollywood stars, really.

"If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, there I am. There's nothing behind it."
-Andy Warhol

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