"When I look at things, I always see the space they occupy. I always want the space to reappear, to make a comeback, because it's lost space when there's something in it. If I see a chair in a beautiful space, no matter how beautiful the chair is, it can never be as beautiful to me as the plain space. My favorite piece of sculpture is a solid wall with a hole in it to frame the space on the other side."
Andy Warhol became a household name appearing on television, mingling with the rich and famous as well as becoming a lightning rod for the underground. Between making films, writing and performing he was first and foremost an artist, the paintbrush being just one of the tools with which he captured and changed American culture.
While Pop artists and their immediate forebears (Rauschenberg, Rivers, Johns) introduced novel popular subject matter into fine arts, it was the rightness of Warhol's images (a combination of his silkscreen's photographic literalness and the oracular power of his subjects) that helped put an end to the virtual dominance of American abstract painting and posited an entirely new set of possibilities.
Ultimately, Warhol's importance as an artist has to do with his particular insight into choice of subject and choice of technique. His work presents images of products of twentieth century mass-culture. He appropriated images generated by commercial methods of reproduction and technique allowing Warhol to create art that retroactively made his appropriated images globally Known. His art has become etched in our own experience of pop culture.
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