In “The Philosophy of Andy Warhol”, Warhol, discusses in a chapter entitled, Time, his “So What” theory.
It’ s pretty radical in it’s simplicity, and it’s an awesome freeing message!
Andy says ” sometimes people let the same problem make them miserable for years when they could just say, “So What?”
“My mother didn’t love me.” So what?
“My husband won’t ball me.” So what?
“I’m a success, but I’m still alone.” So what?
He goes on to say that he has no idea how he survived before he learned that trick, but that once he got it he never forgot.
WORD. To. The. Wise.
So fast forward to Today Speak, we can translate Andy’s “so what?” Into “whatever”. Right? Nothing is THAT important, that serious! Isn’t it all kind of blown up from that deflated balloon reality where it all begins? Light hearted, whimsical, fun, POP! The lofty, uber pretentious days can be historically interesting but in real time also a colossal drag!!!
His book, a masterpiece of ingenious witticisms, logic, and unique observations, is a real X-Ray into Andy Warhol’s Head. A head full of confetti. Like one of those old school bubble gum machines with prizes mixed in with multi colored gum balls. Put the penny in and you don’t know what you will get. But you will get something you didn’t have before. And that’s what Warhol’s book gives us – new ideas, a new way of looking at everyday things. It’s all about the NEW, because face it people don’t really dig the old. Not really. They may pretend they do, but actually— Noooooo.
We want it hip, hot, fresh, right off the grill, spicy, the day after Today!
And his art was like that. The pop concept, everyday things become artworks. A soup can, a shoe, a dollar sign, a cereal box, Marilyn Monroe, anything really that caught his eye. And his method of reproducing his art using silkscreen, so there was no possibility of ever running out of a painting with a one time sale. He was guaranteeing the infinite, removing limits, his eternal dollar signs multiplying with every copy the silk screen spun out. His photographic technique for his portraits of the jet setters he worshipped and who followed him around like the pied piper of NYC, were all inherent components in achieving his popularity and fame. He turned the boring stuff of life into something exciting and new. But only through art, and his cutting edge, off the grid lifestyle, that attracted everyone from the down and out in Beverly Hills types to the hoity toity silver spooners of Park Avenue. They all wanted to join Andy’s fraternity of pop! Membership guaranteed your POPularity , the ticket to Oz, the trip from dullsville to Crazytown, where everyone wanted to live in the psychedelic sixties!
But only the Cool could enter. And that could be anyone from his drugged out blue blood friend Edie, to his Factory drag star UltraViolet, to his best bud Samo aka Basquiet, Ingrid Superstar, and of course his telephone mate Bridgette, his alter ego earpiece from “The Andy Warhol Diaries”, his prime requirement is that they are funny and they entertain him. “Funny people are the only people I ever get really interested in, because as soon as somebody isn’t funny, they bore me.”
Who can overlooked the fact that he refers to his tape recorder as his “wife?” I could read so much into that but I am sure you could too, so I will just leave it alone for now.
And boy, his pop art certainly fulfilled that need to be entertained, in it’s color, it’s whimsy, it’s humor, it’s cultural relevance, it’s 60’s iconography, they all integrate to promote his psychology, his pov, his kooky perspective, and he didn’t give a shit whether or not you dug him or not. Actually in his “philosophy”, he makes it clear that he goes for the opposite of the current reality. On purpose. His take on money is beyond the pale because it is sooo radical, he loves money, clearly his shopping excursions on Madison Avenue attest to that, but he also dismisses it and has a voyeuristic attitude toward the rich and famous people he associates with who clamour around his factory parties looking for the newest kick to amp up their boringly money infested lives. He sells his art with this kind of ambiguous talking point, sealing the deal, because hey it was the sixties, and if it was hip and new , and involved drugs, sex, and rock and roll, it was a hit! Andy managed to do all of this and then some. Capote got axed when he spilled the dirt on his so called friends in that hated tell all ” Answered Prayers”, taking him into a spiral of doom, as his friends banished him from their social circles, after he betrayed their trusts, in an embarrassing expose. But Andy does it differently because he philosophized from his own point of view about the generalities of people and situations without really getting specific, but you got the message! No harm. No foul. He managed to slide by, while Capote fell off and got stepped on.
That’s art! Get the message or don’t get the message! I look at Matisse’s “Woman with a Hat”, and see stuff, that you don’t. Great! So What? Why can’t everything be like a big SO WHAT? Why are we soooo concerned by minutia, the idiotic crap that energy is expended on daily, that’s of no real importance or substance, just time filling misdemeanors?
In the Philosophy of… Everything is simplified according to Andy’s world. He turned his interests into art and business. A joint affair. He loved gossip! LOVED. Hence “Interview Magazine.” Loved celebrities, hence the pop portraits. He loved commercial style, and fashion, from his clerking days in Bergdorfs, and his store window dressing making a living 9-5 days at Bonwit’s, hence his chosen icons and the neon colors he used coming straight out of the sixties, and the psychedelic moroelight show acid trip world he lived in at the time !
I can read the “Philosophy of Andy Warhol”, and still get new crumbs from the golden nuggets of pop isms, after the fifth reading, because it’s just one of THOSE books, but for me it’s also a genuine artist book written by the Master of Pop Art, an art legend that the hipsters of today have only read about in art class or perhaps viewed his Gold Marilyn at the MOMA, or strolled by that funky silver statue in front of his old office building in Union Square in NYC.
His breakdown of philosophy into the major life areas: is genius. He is right on. Like what else really matters?
Love. Work. Beauty. Fame. Time. Death. Economics. Atmosphere. Success. Art. Titles. The Tingle. Underwear Power. That’s it!
The beginning. The middle. The end.
You want to paint? Paint. Want to write? Go for it . Act? Yes. Sing? Ok!
Think about cool stuff? Like Philosophy?
“In the 60’s everybody got interested in everybody.
In the 70’s everybody started dropping everybody.
The 60’s were clutter.
The 70’s are very empty.”
What about Today? in 2014, Millennium years, what have we become? What would Andy call us ? How would he define us in a chapter in his book, published in 1975? What kind of art would he be making today?
It was a time, HIS time, HIS generation, and HIS mark in history, a pop culture icon, the most famous celebrity pop artist on the planet! He once said , “everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”. It’s a universally known easily identifiable Warhol quote. Reality Shows of today prove his prophecy, as well as people’s personal Youtube videos, sex tapes, and the various computer resources available for publicity hounds seeking attention. Everybody seeks that fame Andy talks about , even if it’s fast and furious, the 15 minute in and out.
In his own case, however he didn’t need any of our super tech assets to stake his claim to fame. And it is a lot longer than 15 minutes! It’s Forever!