Pop's Pop: Andy Warhol at the Met

Looking back at the icon and the people he influenced

The best thing about Warhol's later portraits is a palpable empathy; in the catalogue, artist Cady Noland writes that Warhol "didn't seem interested in dragging the reluctant into the limelight. (He enjoyed exposing those who enjoyed being exposed.)"

And from the beginning, he found those seekers in the demimonde; see Factory superstar Taylor Mead's homely mug flouncing through Lonesome Cowboys (1968), and the battered, swollen countenance in Most Wanted Men No. 2, John Victor G. (1964). There was something profoundly democratic about Andy. Yes, he could be cloyingly enigmatic in his pronouncements—"I never like to give my background, and anyway, I make it all up different every time I'm asked"—yet these subterfuges couldn't hide his blue-collar work ethic and ferociously calculating eye.

A quarter-century after his death, perhaps Warhol's most enlightening bequest to every striver engaging the sprawling enigma of artistic representation is yet another aphorism: "I've never met a person I couldn't call a beauty."

Ice Box (1961)—still cool.
© 2012 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Ice Box (1961)—still cool.


'Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years'
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
212-535-7710, metmuseum.org
Through December 31

For once, we can take Andy at his word.

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