The Genius of Andy Warhol
by Tony Scherman and David Dalton
$40.00 List Price
With so many books about Andy Warhol already in print, one can reasonably ask why yet another should make its appearance now. What more can really be said about a man—and a mythos—that all but defined modern-day media culture? From the early assembly-line silk screens of Marilyn Monroe and Liz Taylor through the manufactured celebrity of latter-day It Girl Edie Sedgwick to the machinations behind the partnership with proto-punk darlings the Velvet Underground—all these stories have been told so frequently that it's difficult to distinguish truth from fairy tale.
Surprisingly, Pop, the first major biography of Warhol in twenty years, makes a compelling case for its own existence. Not only is it well written and researched, it manages to unearth details that reframe the debate about Warhol's real importance as an artist. The book ends with the twilight of the 1960s, as Warhol's celebrity-obsessed vision of the future effectively ushers in the tabloid culture of today. It's a fitting moment of closure, even though Warhol continued championing the Pop worldview, and its celebrity underpinnings, until his death in 1987. He had always been a voyeur and provocateur, and he possessed an ability to document the world around him—through a shifting prism of paintings, photos, and films and, later, in the pages of Interview magazine—better than any other artist of his generation.
This is not to say that Warhol was an artist in the European old-master sense. Tony Scherman and David Dalton bolster the case that his genius came not so much from his formal skill as an artist as from his