Through the Eyes of Andy Warhol
“In the future, everyone will be world famous for fifteen minutes” Andy Warhol once said. High society was a theme used in Pop Art that showed the viewers what was happening on the inside at the time of creation, rather that what was exposed outside of the image. Beauty on the outside is not always as it seems on the inside. Andy Warhol’s fascination with media was brought to life in his silk print portraits. His portraits reflect the idea of iconography, because if they were made in a different time, the meaning behind the images would not give off the message to society as they were intended. Warhol’s use of color not only appeals to all ages of viewers, but it also differed form the seriousness of the icons in societies lives and rather showed more of what the people in society wanted to see and believe.
The highs and lows of Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy, Tina Chow, Princess Caroline of Monaco, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Elizabeth Taylor lives are all shown through the series of portrait prints Warhol created. By creating works that people called progressive and ahead of his time, he showed in his works that he could capture the events of timeless icons lives though their faces. The obvious theme of the six images choose for the exhibition is that these women are icons that are still recognized in history, but they also helped shape culture and society during their time.
Andy Warhol’s obsession with stardom and people in high society is created in his images. Liz was the portrait he created in 1963 of Elizabeth Taylor. He captured her violet eyes using a light blue as a contrast for Pop Art, which was a feature of hers that was recognizable by society. She was married and divorced many times, but remarried the mad she loved and divorced him, leading her never to find true love. Her face is pink with a subtle red lip and her hair was done in black. The Grey Background allowed focus to be on her face as she is known as at most beautiful women of her time. The year of 1963 was also the year in which she stared in Cleopatra and the V.I.P.S. She was the first actress to ever be paid one million dollars. The two directed themes of Pop Art, mass media and celebrity are shown in this image because it focuses on Elizabeth Taylor and her roles as an actress, along with a huge point in women’s rights (McCarthy 37).
Norma Jeane Mortenson, better known as Marilyn Monroe was famous for her image as a model and sex symbol, her roles in film, and for singing. Light Blue Marilyn by Andy Warhol was created in 1964 (Crone 70). The series of events leading up to her death in 1962 is what became recognized. The year of 1964 was when the case of her murder was still being solved. Her affair with John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK) was being brought into the case especially with his remembrance after this death in 1963. The Kennedy family was created as a theory for who to put the blame on for Monroe’s death. Although her tragic death created a conflict to her image, she is still known by society as a sex symbol, beauty icon and hi lighted movie star. Her troubled personal life and immortality is shown in the print image by using her face especially her lips as an expression of her beauty and lust, while the coloring hi lights her sexual futures, the vibrant color thought the image creates a cover up of her pain.
Red Jackie created in 1964 shows the face of first lady Jacqueline Kennedy (Jackie). Warhol creates the print by giving her a pale white face, bright red lips, blue eye shadow, her classic style of short swept back hair, blue tint around her hair, and a bright red background. The red background and black hair contrast each other, while the black hair also creates a contrast against the pale, red lipped face. By using colors that relate to America, Warhol was able to capture her role in society. He created this image in the year after her husband, President JFK’s assassination. This was also the year in which Jackie’s interviews about her personal life and her husband which were recorded shortly after his death were released. She was exposed to the nation in the most personal way and gave her view on everything as being the wife of a president. Jackie is shown smiling and happy. She wanted her family to be seen as happy and did not want America to see what really happens behind the closed doors of her life. Her struggles with her past, the passing of her husband and becoming a widow, and the agony she encountered are hidden in her red covered lips.
Diane Von Furstenberg (DVF) is a Jew and a former princess, but is recognized today for her clothing brand named after her. She kept her divorced husbands last name and also uses it in her labeled high quality brand. The printed, knitted, wrap dress was the design that launched her career in the fashion industry. It was created in 1974, the same year in which she launched a cosmetic line and her first fragrance, Tatiana which was named after her first daughter. It was also the year that Warhol captured her face in a portrait. Diane Von Furstenberg was the name of his silk print depiction of her. She was created with a white face, blue hair and facial features, stark and bright red lips, and and orange background. This was a time of the beginning of her fame and she was shown with fierce eyes to show that she was ready o take on the fashion world.
Princess Caroline of Monaco was created by Warhol in 1983. She married her second band in December of 1983. She was also the daughter of actress Grace Kelly and it was the year after her mother had suffered from a stroke and died from driving off a cliff. Her purple hair and features, blue eye shadow, red lips, and orange background don't really correspond to her life events, but the shadow of dark purple behind her reflects on how she always lives in the shadow of her mother. She also stands with he back slightly turned, showing that she turns from the devastating events in her life.
Tina Chow was an American model. In Warhol’s image, Tina Chow created in 1985 she is shown with short slicked black hair, red lips, a pink face, violet eyes, and and a light violet background. The violet and red contrast with he black hair and black eyebrows. Chow was fashion icon of the seventies and eighties. In late 1985, Chow contracted aids from a love affair with a bisexual lover. She became and advocate for the promotion of AIDS, but the disease eventually took its toll on her and was the cause of her death. Warhol's portrait of Tina Chow is important to her lifetime in the year where she contracted AIDS. Her face expresses fear in the eyes, but also a sense of strength and acknowledgment.
Pop Art has been criticized for its outlandish design and “freakish and flamboyant history”, but people have failed to recognized that there is a stylistic unity in the Pop Art culture (Russell & Gablik 10). The phenomenon of this cultured art created its own stance in society. Not only was it reiterating the media in a different form, but it pulls put the most important figures or events in society that were built the culture. Pop Art recognizes timeless figures and people because they wont be the ones that stand in the fifteen minutes of fame, but instead show the events of history through their legacy left behind or carried on. In Pop Art Redefined by John Russell and Suzi Gablik, they say how there are a number of unities in the art that apply to the American culture with a shared and recurrent iconography, based upon everybody’s world, not just the world of the artist’s (Russell & Gablik 11).
These women would be placed at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA Chicago), because of its stylistic approach. It would attract viewers of all ages, just as Pop Art is intended to do. The Exhibition would take place during the month of August to draw attention towards women rights, which were ratified on August 18, 1920. The portraits of the six woman correspond because they all played some significant role in society that is still remembered in todays world. Sex, love, fame, and family all play a part in the women’s role of stardom and recognition. Jacqueline Kennedy played up a happy image to America even though she struggled like most average people. She was involved in love problems with her husband President JFK and his affairs with Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn was a sex symbol and famous Hollywood actress and singer, but also struggled with personal problems. Liz Taylor like Marilyn Monroe also was a famous Hollywood actress, with her eyes being a symbol instead of her lips like Monroe. A side fact is tat Monroe and Taylor both converted to Judaism. Diana Von Furstenberg also a member of the religion of Judaism is a fashion designer and icon. Jackie Kennedy was known for her fashion choices as first lady. Tina Chow a fashion icon and model had an affair just like Monroe, but hers was with a woman and instead of a president, and she contacted disease. All of the woman have some connection that brings them together in a way that most people will overlook. By placing them together their lives can be bought together and the women can be viewed and their highs and lows. The exhibition will be exhibited as a time line of the faces and focus in on how media perceived the six women.
Pop Art is hard because it is hard because it is judge based on its creation and talked about by its individuality (Madoff 103). Andy Warhol’s view of people in the images and use of color made the art works individual and distinctive to the people. People observe art in differ ways, but the crazy, wild, and outlandish style of Pop Art is a style that can let all people see art in the same way. Warhol describes the style of art as a machine, because of its the same thing over and over again. He also says that, “it’s all fantasy” (Madoff 103). The fantasy of art and machine style of repetition is seen by viewers in a simplistic style to point out all the highs and lows which are most recognizable. Jackie, Marilyn, Tina, Caroline, Diane, and Liz may be seen in Andy Warhol’s silk print, Pop Art designs as just six beautiful women, but their legacy of creating the culture of women in todays world is seen in the beauty they behold beyond their faces.
Russell, John, and Suzi Gablik. "Andy Warhol Interview with G.R. Swenson." Pop Art Redefined. New York: Praeger, 1969. 116-19. Print.
Warhol, Andy, and Pat Hackett. The Andy Warhol Diaries. New York, NY: Warner, 1989. Print.
Madoff, Steven Henry. Pop Art: A Critical History. Berkeley: U of California, 1997. Print.
McCarthy, David. "Pedigree." Pop Art. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge UP, 2000. 15-25. Print.
McCarthy, David. "Fame." Pop Art. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge UP, 2000. 37-45. Print.