Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again

Donna De Salvo. Yale Univ, $70 (400p) ISBN 978-0-300-23698-9
In this smartly illustrated retrospective, De Salvo, senior curator at the Whitney Museum, comprehensively chronicles Andy Warhol’s work with a series of insightful essays from various historians, critics, and curators. The book spans Warhol’s career from the early 1950s (exemplified by simple line-drawn self-portraits) to 1987 (an abstract series of Rorschach paintings), when he died following surgery. Famous works such as the Campbell’s soup can series are contextualized within the broader scope of his early career as a commercial illustrator (“I’ve always been a commercial artist,” Warhol said late in his life). The book goes beyond pop art with photos of a police confrontation in Birmingham (which inspired Warhol’s Death in America paintings) as well as his recreation of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, which Jessica Beck, a curator at the Andy Warhol Museum, notes was inspired by friends of Warhol’s who had died of AIDS. Fans of the Velvet Underground will enjoy, in art historian Branden W. Joseph’s essay, an anecdote about an intentional skip placed on the vinyl record in the song “Loop” that mimics repetition themes found in Warhol’s screen prints. This definitive collection reveals lesser-known aspects of Warhol’s art while giving valuable context to his best-known works. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 01/03/2019
Release date: 11/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
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