Andy Warhol (1928-1987) is hailed as the most important proponent of the Pop art movement. A critical and creative observer of American society, he explored key themes of consumerism, materialism, media, and celebrity.
Drawing on contemporary advertisements, comic strips, consumer products, and Hollywood's most famous faces, Warhol proposed a radical reevaluation of what constituted artistic subject matter. Through Warhol, a Campbell's soup can and Coca Cola bottle became as worthy of artistic status as any traditional still life. At the same time, Warhol reconfigured the role of the artist. Famously stating "I want to be a machine," he systematically reduced the presence of his own authorship, working with mass-production methods and images, as well as dozens of assistants in a studio he dubbed the Factory.
This book introduces Warhol's multifaceted, prolific oeuvre, which revolutionized distinctions between "high" and "low" art and integrated ideas of living, producing, and consuming that remain central questions of modern experience.
About the series
Born back in 1985, the Basic Art Series has evolved into the best-selling art book collection ever published. Each book in TASCHEN's Basic Art series features:
a detailed chronological summary of the life and oeuvre of the artist, covering his or her cultural and historical importance
a concise biography
approximately 100 illustrations with explanatory captions
Published in conjunction with the major exhibition, 'The Road to Aztlan: Art from a Mythic Homeland' explores the art derived from and created about the legendary area that encompasses the American Southwest and portions of Mexico long before they were separated by an international border. The book and accompanying exhibition view Aztlan as a metaphoric centre and allegorical place of origin for the various peoples of the Southwest and Mexico. Cultural interactions between the two areas span two millennia, beginning with maize cultivation, which spread north from Mexico around BC 1200. The book also investigates the relationship between myth and history as expressed in art and material culture of the region's inhabitants over time and the relationship and continuities of cultural practices over the course of the pre-Columbian, colonial, and contemporary eras. Crucial to these changing relationships are aspects of tradition and innovation within cultures as people sought to negotiate, maintain, and redefine their identities in the face of social disruption.
Green Woods and Crystal Waters examines American landscape painting in the second half of the 20th century through the works of 89 artists. Keeping the city at a safe distance, it focuses on the pastoral views and dramatic wilderness that have provided such a powerful American subject for over two centuries. Formally and expressively diverse, the works range from the objective depiction of the physical appearance of nature to the romantic or mystical use of landscape as a vehicle for poetic and spiritual concerns to the expressionist's reshaping of nature to follow the curvature of interior moods. Each of these very different approaches is central to our visual tradition and has colored our portrayals of the landscape.
The painted books of ancient Mexico constitute a particularly important chapter of world literature. The work of the tlacuilo, or scribes, goes back thousands of years before the Spanish Conquest; their exquisite manuscripts were written and drawn on native paper or skin and, later, on European paper. The vast majority of these codices were destroyed during the invasion; a precious few have survived. About twenty of the finest of these are in British collections and Professor Brotherston has undertaken a close study of them, comparing them with Mexican books in America and elsewhere.
Besides being beautiful works of art in their own right, the codices offer invaluable insights into the history, religion and legends of the ancient civilisations of Mesoamerica: the Olmec, Maya, Chichimec and Mexica (Aztec). The books meticulously record wars, conquests, dynastic disputes and the biographies of great rulers like the Mixtec king Eight Deer. Complex ritual calendars give a framework for the religious observances of these peoples and offer testimony to their obsession with dates and record-keeping; maps record the spread of the Mexica, Chichimec and Mixtec across Mesoamerica. After the Conquest most of the 'pagan' books were burned, but the book-making tradition continued and retained many of the old forms and conventions. Post-Conquest legal documents, for example, give stark evidence of the rapacity and brutality of the invaders.
In the mid-20th century, ceramics evolved from a utilitarian craft or therapeutic hobby into a well-recognized fine art that continues to occupy a place in today's art world. In this pioneering study, leading scholar Martha Drexler Lynn explores how and why this shift occurred by examining the pivotal period for the maturation of American studio ceramics. Lynn traces critical developments in ceramics education, exhibition, patronage, and technology from 1940 to 1979, as magazines dedicated to the practice appeared, institutional support flourished, audiences grew, and star artists emerged.
The most in-depth history of American studio ceramics to date, this book is the first to fully explore the works of art alongside the societal trends that shaped them and the organizations that propelled the movement. Lynn considers the movement's fluctuation across geographic regions as well as stylistic responses to advances in technology and cultural influences from across the United States and abroad. Key patrons and practitioners such as Aileen Osborn Webb, Glen Lukens, Peter Voulkos, and Robert Arneson are featured alongside lesser-known figures. This groundbreaking volume illustrates how studio ceramics came to define itself and challenged the boundaries between fine art and craft. It will be a definitive resource on the movement for years to come.
"Behind almost every painting is a fortune and behind that a sin or a crime."
With these words as a starting point, Michael Gross, leading chronicler of the American rich, begins the first independent, unauthorized look at the saga of the nation's greatest museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In this endlessly entertaining follow-up to his bestselling social history "740 Park," Gross pulls back the shades of secrecy that have long shrouded the upper class's cultural and philanthropic ambitions and maneuvers. And he paints a revealing portrait of a previously hidden face of American wealth and power.
The Metropolitan, Gross writes, "is a huge alchemical experiment, turning the worst of man's attributes--extravagance, lust, gluttony, acquisitiveness, envy, avarice, greed, egotism, and pride--into the very best, transmuting deadly sins into priceless treasure." The book covers the entire 138-year history of the Met, focusing on the museum's most colorful characters. Opening with the lame-duck director Philippe de Montebello, the museum's longest-serving leader who finally stepped down in 2008, "Rogues' Gallery" then goes back to the very beginning, highlighting, among many others: the first director, Luigi Palma di Cesnola, an Italian-born epic phony, whose legacy is a trove of plundered ancient relics, some of which remain on display today; John Pierpont Morgan, the greatest capitalist and art collector of his day, who turned the museum from the plaything of a handful of rich amateurs into a professional operation dedicated, sort of, to the public good; John D. Rockefeller Jr., who never served the Met in any official capacity but who, during the Great Depression, proved the only man willing and rich enough to be its benefactor, which made him its behind-the-scenes puppeteer; the controversial Thomas Hoving, whose tenure as director during the sixties and seventies revolutionized museums around the world but left the Met in chaos; and Jane Engelhard and Annette de la Renta, a mother-daughter trustee tag team whose stories will astonish you (think "Casablanca" rewritten by Edith Wharton).
With a supporting cast that includes artists, forgers, and looters, financial geniuses and scoundrels, museum officers (like its chairman Arthur Amory Houghton, head of Corning Glass, who once ripped apart a priceless and ancient Islamic book in order to sell it off piecemeal), trustees (like Jayne Wrightsman, the Hollywood party girl turned society grand dame), curators (like the aging Dietrich von Bothmer, a refugee from Nazi Germany with a Bronze Star for heroism whose greatest acquisitions turned out to be looted), and donors (like Irwin Untermyer, whose collecting obsession drove his wife and children to suicide), and with cameo appearances by everyone from "Vogue "editors Anna Wintour and Diana Vreeland to Sex Pistols front man Johnny Rotten, "Rogues' Gallery" is a rich, satisfying, alternately hilarious and horrifying look at America's upper class, and what is perhaps its greatest creation.