By Gary Indiana

ISBN-10: 0465020984

ISBN-13: 9780465020980

In the summertime of 1962, Andy Warhol unveiled 32 Soup Cans in his first solo exhibition on the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles—and despatched the artwork international reeling. The responses ran from incredulity to outrage; the poet Taylor Mead defined the exhibition as “a wonderful slap within the face to America.” The exhibition positioned Warhol at the map—and remodeled American tradition ceaselessly. virtually single-handedly, Warhol collapsed the centuries-old contrast among “high” and “low” tradition, and created a brand new and notably smooth aesthetic.

In Andy Warhol and the Can that offered the realm, the dazzlingly flexible critic Gary Indiana tells the tale of the genesis and impression of this iconic murals. With strength, wit, and great perspicacity, Indiana recovers the pleasure and controversy of the Pop artwork Revolution and the intense, tormented, and profoundly narcissistic determine at its leading edge.

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Miller Shoes, the premier shoe emporium of its day whose ads appeared weekly between 1955 and 1957 in the Sunday New York Times in the section devoted to wedding announcements. He won four awards from the Art Directors Club in the 1950s, three of them for his shoe drawings for I. Miller advertisements. Indeed, Warhol’s headiest success as an illustrator was in his endlessly inventive, often boldly exaggerated designs of ladies’ shoes. But much of his other graphic work gleaned wide exposure—for example, a drawing of a sailor injecting his arm with heroin in an ad for a radio crime program on “The Nation’s Nightmare” that occupied a full page of the New York Times in September 1951, then became the cover of an album of the radio program.

It’s startling today to realize how much power art critics exercised in the heyday of Greenberg and 26 9780465002337-text:Layout 1 11/30/09 9:45 AM Page 27 LEAP OF FATE Rosenberg. They had little detailed knowledge of art history, but knew important art when they saw it. The two critics became mortal enemies after a brief friendship; though they were advocates for the same artists, each could prove that the other liked the same thing for the wrong reasons. They trafficked in the jargon of “greatness,” of “major” and “minor,” “important,” “groundbreaking,” and so on, the broad-brush vocabulary of subjective opinion marshaling a quorum.

Typically, a prudent, wholesome family constructed a basement bomb shelter stocked with ample food, water purification tablets, and air filtration systems (throughout the fifties, American families received fat manila envelopes from Civil Defense stuffed with life-saving goodies in military drab-olive cans and phials), while profligate neighbors, caught mid-martini by an onslaught of incoming ICBMs, attacked the fortified bunker next door with lawn mowers, chainsaws, 30 9780465002337-text:Layout 1 11/30/09 9:45 AM Page 31 LEAP OF FATE crowbars, and whatever else they could find in the garage, endangering the survival of all.

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