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    Description

    The definitive biography of a fascinating and paradoxical figure, one of the most influential artists of his - or any - age.

    To this day, mention the name “Andy Warhol” to almost anyone and you’ll hear about his famous images of soup cans and Marilyn Monroe. But though Pop Art became synonymous with Warhol’s name and dominated the public’s image of him, his life and work are infinitely more complex and multifaceted than that. In Warhol, esteemed art critic Blake Gopnik takes on Andy Warhol in all his depth and dimensions. 

    “The meanings of his art depend on the way he lived and who he was”, as Gopnik writes. “That’s why the details of his biography matter more than for almost any cultural figure” - from his working-class Pittsburgh upbringing as the child of immigrants to his early career in commercial art to his total immersion in the “performance” of being an artist, accompanied by global fame and stardom - and his attempted assassination. 

    The extent and range of Warhol’s success, and his deliberate attempts to thwart his biographers, means that it hasn’t been easy to put together an accurate or complete image of him. But in this biography, unprecedented in its scope and detail as well as in its access to Warhol’s archives, Gopnik brings to life a figure who continues to fascinate because of his contradictions - he was known as sweet and caring to his loved ones but also a coldhearted manipulator; a deep-thinking avant-gardist but also a true lover of schlock and kitsch; a faithful churchgoer but also an eager sinner, skeptic, and cynic. 

    Wide-ranging and immersive, Warhol gives us the most robust and intricate picture to date of a man and an artist who consistently defied easy categorization and whose life and work continue to profoundly affect our culture and society today.

    ©2020 Blake Gopnik (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

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    • Global
      4 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      3 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      4 out of 5 stars
    Image de profile pour Keith
    • Keith
    • 05/05/2020

    Explaining an Enigma

    The challenge in writing a biography of a public figure steeped in mystery is one that Gopnik handles with a deceptive nuance. At first the book seems to be nothing more than a data dump, comprised of every detail he could find in archives, previous writings, and through interviews with associates. It's only as the book reaches its second half that it becomes apparent that Gopnik is crafting a non-interpretive overview of Warhol's career as a conscious decision to actively engage the reader in deciphering Warhol. Sifting through fact and fiction becomes a challenge with Warhol because the artist was so famously unreliable in communicating his opinions and lived experiences. Gopnik avoids simplistic conclusions or a clearly stated argument regarding Warhol as an artist (or as a person). Instead, he provides as many details as he possibly can and invites readers to think through the subject for themselves. The book, like most of Warhol's artistic output, becomes an act of interpretation, shaped primarily by what the reader projects onto the subject rather than authorial intent. It's a rewarding book, but takes awhile to acclimate to as a reader.

    There are two downsides worth mentioning.

    First, while the book is clearly the product of thorough research, the physical copy (as well as the audiobook, obviously) does not include citations. The physical copy has a "Note on Sources" at the end with a laundry list of archives and interview subjects. Without endnotes or proper citation there is no way for the reader to locate the source of any specific quote, fact, or claim. This is an extremely dubious way to present information, with Gopnik essentially saying "trust me." More importantly, by withholding citations Gopnik is attempting to present the book, and by extension himself, as the final word on Warhol. Good history should encourage further engagement with the subject and provide future researchers with the building blocks to expand on previous work.

    Second, the narration of the audiobook is generally good. However, Graham Halstead decides to perform quotations from Warhol in a voice that, frankly, is borderline offensive. Rather than Warhol's trademark dry delivery, here he is given a wispy cattiness that recalls the most tired and egregious stereotypes of gay male speech patterns. Maybe watch a YouTube clip of your subject before assigning a voice to a public figure? Just an idea. This is not a dealbreaker in the broader project, but is certainly a continual frustration.

    15 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      3 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      2 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      3 out of 5 stars
    Image de profile pour Dr. Bill- Northern NJ-USA
    • Dr. Bill- Northern NJ-USA
    • 18/07/2020

    TMI

    This biography could have condensed by at least 50% and been certainly thorough. The narrator is somewhat annoying in his mispronunciations of such names as Ralph Lauren and many French and Italian phrases. I do, however, appreciate the effort and research of the author.

    3 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
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    • Eric A. Torres
    • 29/05/2020

    Andy

    The most comprehensive collection of Andy-isms that this reader has ever read to date. An interesting and informative look at the life of an American artist, who is believed to be the best!!!

    3 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      4 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      4 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      5 out of 5 stars
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    • Morgan
    • 21/10/2020

    A warm & personal chronology filled with great detail

    This is a warm and deeply personal narrative - the opposite of the dry, academic, dissertation I expected to get. The experience left me feeling personally aquatinted with Andy Warhol and the entire cast of characters in his life. Nevertheless, 40 hours of fascinating detail is, essentially, Andy 101. It is a semester of art history. Halstead’s overall reading performance is good. However, it seems he’s given each of the speaking characters in the book the same vocal personality. Meaning, everyone sounds like Andy. This struck me as a small distraction in an otherwise engaging and satisfying audiobook. I loved it.

    2 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      4 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      3 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      5 out of 5 stars
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    • Stephen B
    • 25/07/2020

    Full examination of Warhol’s life

    I studied art history and work in the art world, and found this both interesting and entertaining, if somewhat long. Aside from the length, my only real issue is the performer who read the text pronounced quite a number of last names incorrectly, and repeatedly.

    2 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      2 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      3 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      2 out of 5 stars
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    • sonny
    • 29/05/2020

    comprehensive, but bland, bland details

    this books isn't great at capturing what makes Andy Warhol a remembered artist. this does a thorough job of demeaning all these moving moments down to bland details of everyday life. oh, he painted soup cans, sold them for $1000 to a dealer, who then sold for $15 million. there is very little appreciation for what was being accomplished with these paintings, with these films, with the music and the scene that surrounded Andy Warhol.

    there is too much dispelling of myths and rumors, without the author really knowing for sure one way or the other. he only knows something might not be true, so it might be this or Andy was doing this or doing that. there is no concrete facts to dispel what no one wants dispelled.

    the constant inference of what Andy was thinking or what Andy meant is attributed to mundane activities like his diet, instead of his art.

    he might as well have been a plumber, as far as this author is concerned.

    2 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      4 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      3 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      4 out of 5 stars
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    • Snow
    • 10/06/2020

    To know him is to know him is to know him

    As an artist, I am amazed at Warhol's work ethic and his factory approach to art. He employed so many people, a rarity amongst the world of artists. We tend to be reclusive in our studios, toiling away alone. I am still working on the same painting after listening to the entire tome that I was working on before I started listening! "Warhol" was informative, inspiring, engaging, embarrassing, detailed, extremely detailed, well researched, gossipy, often insulting, prying, funny, sad, too long, and not long enough. The author makes it abundantly clear that Warhol loved to gossip, much of the book has a gossipy tone. It's cringingly personal. Throughout the book, I feel that Warhol is being insulted and belittled for his brilliant idea of creating multiples of each work, for making films that are different, for being gay, for being an artist. As a child of the '60s, I have loved Warhol's work and was fascinated by his ethereal character. The book is really good in many respects but I would have edited a third of the material, too personal. But perhaps I am misinterpreting the mood of the book. If Warhol truly loved to gossip then perhaps he would be thrilled with a biography that reveals so many personal details. One thing, days after finishing the book, I am still thinking about it and have a renewed interest in the works and work ethic of Andy Warhol. 

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      1 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      2 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      1 out of 5 stars
    Image de profile pour Utilisateur anonyme
    • Utilisateur anonyme
    • 30/05/2020

    Cutting edge with dull knife.

    If you want a groovy read this is not it. "Groovy" does not get used but the dull and monotone CUTTING EDGE happens on almost every page. Bad writing and shrill voice not painting a good picture of a great American artist.