Names Subject



Iconographyof Andy Warhol

AndyWarhol was an artist in America whose concentration was reflected inthe visual art movement that was commonly referred to as the pop art.His works sought to indulge and see the sights in the underlyingrelationship that existed between celebrity as a culture,advertisement and expression. In the 20thcentury Andy Warhol was one the greatest iconographers. This paperexplores the iconography in his work, and seeks to discover the styleand purpose of his works of art in the industry at the time.

Atthe beginning of his career, Warhol’s most famous subject wasperhaps that of Marilyn Monroe. Her iconic and famous status inspiredhim and most possibly to some extent he envied her. Monroe’s deathsomehow thrilled Warhol so much that he began painting Monroe’smany paintings. This primarily for the vast press reporting that suchpaintings had gotten to generate each time (Warhol 24). Warhol hadcravings to become a star and so he discovered that being asignificant painter was sufficient. He also saw the need to put hisown face in every work as an artist to become an essentialconstituent of his oeuvre (Warhol 24). Many people at the timesuggested that it was important to have his looks together with hiswork to feed the imagination of the audience. Thus he was propelledto have his face in the process of developing a persona that would beconsumed by the public.

Marilynand Warhol decided to go blonde to symbolically correspond to theirprincipal life changes (Warhol 25). This life changes made up to theseparation of their private and public lives. Hence, they cashed in acomplex and long history of blondeness. It is also important to notethe association that existed between blondness and sex that can bedated to the Roman times. This is most almost certainly the factorthat gave the hair the color its unique transformational effect(Roberts 50). For instance the blonde hair that was adopted byMonroe, perhaps represented a Synecdoche of her whiteness inall-purpose. She was referred as the ultimate woman that was whitethat led to her most famous images. However, this image often conveysdeeper contradictions when the issue of sexuality is evaluated. It isa complete contrast to the image of a white woman who is representedby the Virgin Mary.

Warholadopted the blonde hair specifically represent a maximumtransformational effect just as Monroe. He completely dyed his hairblonde into sometimes silver-white versions that later become to behis trademarks. That hair not only offered him transformationaleffects, but also made him to grab attention all around thequalities that he had sought to acquire (Warhol 26). However, unlikeMonroe he did not convey the same exact messages that were conveyedby her. His blonde hair was said to bring about cool and platinumeffects. Hence it is easy to see that cool blondes are a completeparadox to those messages that Monroe sent. While it seemed that hishair represented access and openness, he however blocked any access(Roberts 50). Thus this can be regarded as a symbol of both art andpersona of Warhol. Both of these important attributes offeredfamiliarity, glamorous and accessible on the surface, but ahead ofthat he blocked.

MoreoverWarhol’s blank stare and his perceptible inability of managingresponses to the tabloid magazines which made gigantic circulationrendered him to acquire a dumb sort of personality (Warhol 28). Allthese attributions that he gave to the public contributed him tobuild a certain public image. He never seemed to provide flashes ofunquestionable brightness that in no doubt seemed to be moreaccidental in nature rather than by design. However the truth wasquite the reverse as he had carefully created that public persona.Warhol’s blank stare was actually symbolic in the fact that hewanted to create a mystique and refused to accept the fixing of allambiguous meanings that discussed about him (Roberts 55).

Inaddition, photographic silkscreen of solitary images of Warholeliminated the invariable ambiguity that existed between mechanicalmarks and expressive gestures (Lewis 234). As a harmonized theready-made image that were centralized that then eliminated thebalance of composition that was lucid. This composition acted as thespatial medium of relative temporal narrative and the traditionalpictorial (Warhol 25). However, such a radical breakthrough thecompositional strategy and photographic silkscreen procedure, madeWarhol to stay put within the scope of pictorial framework. Thispictorial frame work was always insisted in his work often being acondition of compromise.

Takingout the photographic representation from its painterly vagueness gaveemphasis to the lapidary truthful information about the image (Warhol24). It also fore grounded the mechanical natural history ofproduction. These two qualities had then a surprising effect morethan being recon trued to all the audience in the early 1960s.Moreover, these qualities seemed to have unusual acquaintance to hiscritics who were usually deceived by the obvious crudeness of thefactual imagery of the pop art. Thus Warhol was able to join togetherall photographic convections that put into practice the combinedscoped compulsions.

Thereare some particular works that have been completely duty-bound byWarhol’s iconography that had a sensational effect. Theseiconographic works were mainly due to the consumer culture and due tothe need to create a spectacle (Roberts 58). A good example is theextent of which Warhol sexualized the commodities and thecommoditization of the culture of sexuality had fascinated manyartists since mid 1950s. This design of applying juxtaposition to thecommodities had thrived more in the British pop culture (Warhol 29).The incorporation of this pop culture was by mainly combining moviestar imagery and the languages of vulgar gossip magazines withadvertising copy. Warhol’s most remarkable example was that ofEduardo Paolozzis.

Moreover,there existed more important actual degree that was evident to theconsumers of post war pervasive preserved. Objects and images ofconsumer culture taken over and irreversibly entered by force thepublic experience and representation (Warhol 26). Thus, most if thepainters of that period were directly or indirectly influenced byWarhol. He further juxtaposed most of the glamorous stars and theirfamous photographic coupled with unidentified images of everyday lifeexperiences of the common people. Warhol did dare and take thosehorrific photographs as a result of a deadly accident that were toorisky to air in the local tabloids (Roberts 59).

Oneof his notable iconographic examples of delicately paired photographsis his famous “Thirteen most wanted”. Warhol got the source ofthis particular photo from the local FBI’s posters of most wanted.This photograph was accomplished by a pedestrian look emanating fromthe pictures of the photo booth. Such pictures had a particularrepresentation and symbol which was often of fame and disaster.

Warholalso created and produced works of art that had a religiousinclination in the later years of his career. One notable piece ofart was his own very unique version of images that depicted Jesus’last supper (Dillenberger 112). Such images that included Jesus andhis disciples were very common amongst the works that highlighted hisown version of Christianity. These types of works grew to be veryfamous around Europe, but they never lost the unique stylisticsignature of Warhol. However, some critics have regarded such worksas a representation of Warhol’s secret life that he kept away fromthe public eye (Warhol 27). Hence, they analyzed and concluded thatsuch works that included religious figures that were short ofsubstance and eventually dismissed as an ironic portrayal. Inaddition to the pop culture works that he had completed, Warhol’sreligious works often was endowed with a satirical point of view inregards to the society.

Warholalso engaged in the filming industry for many years where he directedmany films. However, some films were seen as highly controversial anddistinctively separated Warhol from other film artists. For instance,he produced a film that documented the camp and gay undergroundculture (Lewis 236). Such a film was aimed at featuring the learningof art and sexuality. A notable example is a film that highlightedWarhol’s superstar fooling in bed and making love with a fellow manfor more than thirty three minutes. This particular film becameWarhol’s last directed film. In that period, the film was highlycriticized and was regarded as scandalous in the highest level(Warhol 30). This was particularly because of the film’s frank andhonest depiction of a sexual encounter.


DillenbergerD. Jane. Thereligious Art of Andy Warhol.New York. Continuum Publishers. 2005. Print.

RobertsE. Helene. Encyclopediaof comparative Iconography.Chicago. Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. 2013. Print

LewisJon. EssentialCinema: An introduction to film Analysis.New York. Cengage Learning. 2013. Print.

WarholAndy. AndyWarhol.New York. Artistic Rights Society. 2005. Print