Andy Warhol


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Arthur C. Danto

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An elegant, masterful portrait of Andy Warhol’s life, character, and lasting influence by an eminent art critic.

"Danto . . . sums up the Pop master's evolution as both artist and persona. . . . It is, in essence, everything you need to dive deeper into Brillo boxes and Empire."—Rachel Wolff, The Daily Beast(Best Art and Photography Books of 2009)

In a work of great wisdom and insight, art critic and philosopher Arthur Danto delivers a compact, masterful tour of Andy Warhol’s personal, artistic, and philosophical transformations. Danto traces the evolution of the pop artist, including his early reception, relationships with artists such as Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, and the Factory phenomenon. He offers close readings of individual Warhol works, including their social context and philosophical dimensions, key differences with predecessors such as Marcel Duchamp, and parallels with successors like Jeff Koons. Danto brings to bear encyclopedic knowledge of Warhol’s time and shows us Warhol as an endlessly multidimensional figure—artist, political activist, filmmaker, writer, philosopher—who retains permanent residence in our national imagination.

Danto suggests that "what makes him an American icon is that his subject matter is always something that the ordinary American understands: everything, or nearly everything he made art out of came straight out of the daily lives of very ordinary Americans. . . . The tastes and values of ordinary persons all at once were inseparable from advanced art."

Arthur C. Danto was Johnsonian Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Columbia University and art critic for The Nation. He was the author of numerous books, including Unnatural Wonders: Essays from the Gap Between Art and Life, After the End of Art, and Beyond the Brillo Box: The Visual Arts in Post-Historical Perspective.

"A distinctive original contribution that can be read in a single sitting, but embodies the wisdom of a lifetime of looking, reflection and writing. It's as if Danto has been waiting all these years to produce this magnificent synthesis."—David Carrier, Cleveland Institute of Art

“This study of what makes And Warhol a fascinating artist from a philosophical perspective explores new territory in our unending quest to evaluate the contribution of the greatest American artist of the 20th century. Arthur Danto’s Andy Warhol is a deep read.”—Victor Bockris

“When Arthur Danto encountered Andy Warhol's Brillo Box in 1964, the experience transformed his vision of art. This book exhibits his philosophical heft and engagement with Warhol.”—Steven Watson, author of Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties

“Arthur Danto's encounter with Andy Warhol's Brillo Boxes in 1964 not only transformed his philosophical career, but also reshaped the course of twentieth-century aesthetics. His masterful new book articulates the artworld contexts, cultural issues, creative strategies, and aesthetic ideas through which Warhol's special genius was expressed. Danto paints a definitive portrait of Warhol's meaning as an American icon, while also exemplifying the critical intelligence and philosophical imagination that has earned Danto his own iconic status in the world of art theory and criticism.”—Richard Shusterman, author of Pragmatist Aesthetics

"Andy Warhol transferred the essence of American consumer society in the sixties into works of art and fundamentally changed the notion of Art. Arthur Danto now gives his art a philosophical corpus and meaning. In this brilliant text of genius and clarity, Danto revisits the world of Andy Warhol and adds to the awareness of his work, which continues to cast its shadow over contemporary art internationally." — Gunnar B. Kvaran,  Director, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art

“Danto’s writing is elegant and his insights acute . . . . This valuable work of critical cultural analysis reveals aspects of Warhol so far uncovered and unexplored that will appeal widely.”—Publishers Weekly

"Everything that passed before Warhol's basilisk gaze—celebrities, socialites, speed freaks, rock bands, film, and fashion—he imprinted with his deadpan mixture of glamour and humor, then cast them back into the world as narcissistic reflections of his own personality. This is what makes him one of the most complex and elusive figures in the history of art. As Danto explains in his brilliant short study of Warhol, the question Warhol asked is not 'What is art?' but 'What is the difference between two things, exactly alike, one of which is art and one of which is not?'"—Richard Dorment, The New York Review of Books

"Danto is an elegant and erudite writer, and his sentences go down smoothly."—Deborah Solomon, The New York Times Book Review

"In this slim volume, Danto, Columbia University professor emeritus and go-to guy for most things Warhol, sums up the Pop master's evolution as both artist and persona. . . . It is, in essence, everything you need to dive deeper into Brillo boxes and Empire."—Rachel Wolff, The Daily Beast (Best Art and Photography Books of 2009)

"Danto's larger points about Warhol's impact are indisputable, and he traces its lineage to a moment in 1961 when Warhol made two paintings of Coke bottles—one with Abstract Expressionist drippings, the other without—and chose the latter as the template for his subsequent work. . . . Danto calls the subsequent era 'the Age of Warhol' because of this blending of high art and commercial art—of art and life broadly."—Fred Kaplan, The Washington Post 

‘Mr Danto is an elegant and erudite writer.’

‘Danto is one of the world’s leading authorities on Warhol.’

‘[An] incisive, essential account … No interpreter of Warhol can escape the influence of Danto’s uniquely perceptive understanding … His book distils a lifetime’s thinking about Warhol and modern aesthetics.’

“A concise and insightful primer that can be enjoyed both by those who know little about the artist and by rabid Warhol enthusiasts . . . wholly satisfying . . . solid scholarship and brilliant turns of phrase.”--Doug McClemont, ARTnews

Andy Warhol both distils the philosopher/art critic’s best thinking on the artist and offers searching new insights into the artist’s body of work from the 1960’s.’ — Richard Deming, Frieze, March 2010

"By deftly weaving together these threads, Danto provides a persuasive account of the significance of Warhol’s artistic achievements and their continuing relevance to questions about the ontological status of art. Regardless of how familiar one is with Warhol’s life and works or with the central theses of Danto’s own philosophical writings, this book is a delight to read."—Kathryn Brown, The Art Book

“For a longer, deeper view of Andy Warhol . . . consult the late great Arthur C. Danto, who wrote best about Warhol over several decades, culminating in a crisp monograph published by Yale University Press in 2009.”—Elizabeth Pochoda, The Magazine Antiques

Selected one of the "Best Art and Photography Books" of 2009, Rachel Wolff, The Daily Beast
ISBN: 9780300135558
Publication Date: October 20, 2009
192 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
6 b/w illus.

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