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Thursday, 6 October 2011

Checking out Warhol 2. An icon makes an icon out of an icon

Checking out Warhol week 2

What three brands do you have faith in?
I chose Innocent, VW and got a bit stuck! I guess I am not the kind of person who puts faith into a I too cynical?

This week we looked at Warhol's graphic design style and branding.
We walked around the exhibition, starting upstairs this time listing all the packaging and brands in his work and trying to think of modern equivalents. We all found this quite a challenge but as soon as we got talking together later on it became easier as we exchanged ideas. Go have a look and try it for yourself.

So upstairs in gallery 2 our ideas were:

Hamburger - McDonalds
Dollar sign - perhaps now brand labels are more important than money itself? Or the euro.
The US Army and guns - the right to bear arms...the 'war on terror.'
Boots - trainers
Joseph Boyce, Maplethorpe and Julian Schnabel are posed like film or rock stars reminding me of Elvis or James Dean.
Coca cola - water bottle.
Cow - shark
Simon Cowel. Pedling american dream.
David Beckham.
Are you different poster - sexuality, race relations hot topic of the times.
Catholic black and white, right or wrong. Polarity of opinions and actions.
Map inter continental ballistic missiles - middle east nowadays war on terror.

So what is a brand?
Is it a projection of identity?

Downstairs in the main gallery
Campbells soup - Heinz
Brillo - Finnish, Cilit-Bang, Ciff or Fairy Liquid.
Marilyn - Madonna, Princess Diana, Amy Winehouse, Elton John, Simon Cowel
Grace Jones - Lady Gaga, Naomi Campbell.
Mao - Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein statue coming down.

The US were nervous of communism and what Mao represented. There was interest in why Warhol had made the choice of these particular colours in this series. Are we trying too hard to make sense of something that is completely random?

Formal visual language of colour and form is traditionally represented in art but in screen printing the form and colour are flattened. They take on a different feeling or interpretation of imbedded values.

The Marilyn icon is interesting: an icon, Warhol made an icon....of an icon.... an accidental repetition?

Warhol had a unique awareness for his time and was brilliant at holding up a mirror to life as it was happening he took a soup can and elevated it to be seen as art. This way the ordinary man or woman in the street and intellectuals complete with high cultural capital alike can debate it's merits. Warhols art is anti elitism and anti intellectual, instinctive but probably not intentionally anti. His work was observations of his time, if we look at those images now we overlay all our current up to date knowledge onto them and they take on more meaning than perhaps he originally expected.

This is where my comparison of Warhol to stand up comedians, observing life around us in a prophetic way, falls down as comedy with time does not accrue additional baggage but images do.
Do you agree?

Warhol has democratised art. No one object is more important than an other, in the past there was a hierarchy of high culture and low culture. I think there still is a belief in that hierarchy,broadly speaking, again do you agree?
Have we moved on or do most of us still believe that 'good' art can only be seen in galleries and collections acclaimed and written about by art critics?

Warhol was ahead of his time perhaps foreseeing peoples obsession with owning art products. His plan for selling hand printed giant Brillo boxes flopped when no one wanted to walk out of the factory with them.
Was he just a bit premature or did he just get the product wrong?
It was after all a huge economic boom time for the american dream why not expect people to follow every lead that he made?

Recommendation: Look up 'Revolutionary road.' A good book about a guy in advertising...also a film.

Pop art and maybe Brit art are more reactive rather than philosophising movements with manifestoes.

Look up Matthew Collins the Art critic on Facebook.

Think of a brand
Think about composition
Make a collage.

Here's some of our work.

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