Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Hopper and Warhol
Today's NY Post has an article about Dennis Hopper's art colllection being up for auction at Christie's next week. The first paragraph reads:
"Dennis Hopper shot two bullet holes through an Andy Warhol 'portrait' of Mao Zedong but instead of earning the wrath of the artist, Warhol called the 'Easy Rider' star a collaborator."
That was actually a very adroit response by Warhol. Rather than stamping his feet and coming across like a ninny, he managed to turn a potential humiliation into a grace note. But that doesn't change the fact that Warhol was basically just a scammer. (Whenever you the words "conceptual" and "artist" together, you can usually just eliminate the "-ceptual" and get a clearer picture of what the artist is about.)
From the time he first called a Campbell's soup can a work of art, Warhol has been tricking the gullible into believing that he was some kind of genius. In fact he was, but his genius was at trickery, not art.
He managed to sell his "silkscreen portraits" (i.e., colored in photographs) of various celebrities for vast sums of money. This was all the more amazing considering he rarely produced these himself, and just had the employees at his Factory do it for him.
You can't really blame him. If I could sell that kind of garbage for that kind of money, I'd do it too.
But since I can't -- and perhaps this is jealousy speaking -- whenever I do see a Warhol, I get the urge to do a little collaborating myself.