Image Analysis – Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst
In this essay I am going to be exploring two artefacts and discussing the relationships between them, considering the meanings behind them, the time and context. The first artefact I have chosen to explore is ‘Turquoise Marilyn’, which is Acrylic and Silkscreen on Linen created by Andy Warhol, 1964.
The second artefact is ‘For the Love of God’, which is platinum cast of a human skull, studded with over 8500 diamonds, created by Damien Hirst, 2007.While I think these two artifacts offer multiple topics of interesting similarities I want to focus on the impact that society, technological developments, economic factors and formal innovations had on the artists. The main question I want to draw on in the essay on is how both of the artefacts raised questions at the times they were made because they both were so new and challenged previous styles and why the artists did this. Andy Warhol was an American artist, born in 1928 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was one of the founders of the Pop Art movement.One of the reasons that his work was so new and confused people, was because he was carrying on from the Abstract Expressionist movement and that was a very energetic way of painting with large canvases and rapid, spontaneous brush strokes completely different from the Pop Art style that Warhol used.
The 1960’s Pop Culture became very cool for young people and it was the beginning of pop music and I think that is why Warhol became so famous because he epitomized the coolness of the new way of life; money, fame and uniqueness. Turquoise Marilyn’, which is Acrylic and Silkscreen on Linen is part of a series of more than twenty Marilyn silk-screens all of which were done in different colours. Warhol produced the Marilyn series the year after she died. The photograph of Marilyn that Andy Warhol used for the whole Marilyn series was based on a publicity shot she had done for the 1953 movie ‘Niagara’ although there have been many claims that another photograph of her with her head tilted sideways and with earrings on was used over the top of the other photograph but it has never been confirmed. Turquoise Marilyn’ has a turquoise background and her hair is bright yellow with the shadows in black.
Warhol used very bright and bold colours in most of pieces; I think that this could be to show a symbol of strength about Monroe. In ‘Turquoise Marilyn’ her face is pink while her lips are bright red and black and her eyelids are a blue colour. The atefact is around 40inches by 40 inches. The head of Marilyn takes up the majority of the image with her neck only showing half and going off the bottom. Her head looks as though it is slightly tilted upwards and her eyes are looking directly at the viewer.
To me it is as though he was trying to bring her back for himself and all her fans as a way to keep her forever and especially the way he mass produced the silk-screens it was as though she had become a consumer product like something you could just buy in a shop. The Pop Art movement, which Andy Warhol, along with many others, helped bring about in Britain and the USA in the 1950’s, was all about the want and need for mass-producing and the popular. During the 1950’s there was a world wide economic boom due to the post-war regeneration schemes.Many people who had lived through the rationing of World War Two were now steadily becoming more affluent and this resulted in society changing and increases in production and consumption of consumer goods. Pop Art reflected the societies mass-media culture of television, radio, movies and advertising.
This is shown in Andy Warhol’s work. Many of his pieces are of famous brands or famous people such as Coca Cola, Brillo, Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson along with many others these images all capture the media, fame and consumer obsessed culture that had become post WW2. Turquoise Marilyn’ is one of Andy Warhol’s most famous pieces of work. When he first started doing portraits he would paint each one at a time until he discovered Silk-Screening and he was then able to mass-produce all of them which makes his work seem even more relevant as this line states ‘In mass-producing images of everyday items such as soup cans and Marilyn Monroe’s, he questioned both authorship and the validity of uniqueness.
He also affirmed common American culture, and questioned what beyond art. (E Art Fair, 2008). The way that Warhol created the image using the silk-screening process meant that some of the lines were blotchy and her lips were slightly offset but Warhol left them like it leading critics to see his portraits as quite impersonal as this quote states ‘He impersonalized his artwork as much as feasible. His most successful portraits of glamorous film star Marilyn Monroe showed a mask-like face which as an iconicm and thus unreal quality to it. (E Art Fair, 2008) and the art critic Robert Hughes said ‘What they suggested was not the humanizing touch of the hand but the pervasiveness of routine error and of entropy..
. “(Hughes, 1997). From an early age Warhol was completely fascinated with Hollywood and the glamour that came with it which is why I think he created the Marilyn series along with the many other stars he immortalized in his paintings such as Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis Presley to name a few. The art critic Robert Hughes said ‘..
. e is the last of the truly successful social portraitists, climbing from face to face in a silent delirium of snobbery, a man so interested in elites that he has his own society magazine’ (Hughes, 1982) and this is clearly shown in the number of celebrity portraits he created. The magazine Warhol created was called ‘Interview’; in it were interviews with famous people from the worlds of fashion, film, art, and music along with many other elitists. This was the beginning of the culture to which our society has felt the need to know everything about famous peoples lives making us feel as though we are the same as them.The Marilyn series was not commissioned by anyone Warhol just decided he wanted to do it. I think that the reason Warhol did so many of the Marilyn’s was because of how much of an icon and sex symbol she was and I think he felt a sort of bond with her as all they both ever wanted was the Hollywood fame and fortune as this quote says ‘The Vatican’s L’osservatore Romano put the blame on the general decline of morals, holding that Marilyn was the victim of a godless way of life in which ‘Hollywood forced her to be the symbol’ (Luce, 1964).
The place where Warhol created most of his art was called ‘The Factory’ and it was a studio located on the fifth floor at 231 East 47th Street, in Midtown Manhattan, USA. It was a very popular place where many extremely famous stars would hang out with Warhol. There were people such as Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Edie Sedgwick, Lou Reed, Sterling Morrison, Maureen Tucker, and John Cale along with many others and Warhol would also make films in there of many things including people sleeping which is where some people think the ideas for ‘Big Brother’ came from as it is a look into peoples personal lives when they are at their weakest.Damien Hirst is a British artist born in Bristol, 1965. He is one of the prominent members of ‘Young British Artists’ or ‘YBA’s’ who had a big impact on the art world during the 1990’s. Hirst’s work has always been very controversial but it is still very original.
When Hirst created ‘For the love of God’ it was 2007 just before the recession and society was very greedy and money obsessed. Celebrity culture was everywhere and people wanted the jet-set lifestyle that was being thrust in their faces through the media.I think that is what Damien Hirst was trying to show through ‘For the love of God’ by encrusting is with diamonds he’s showing the cliches of modern life as it cost over ? 14 million to create and sold for ? 50 million. Damien Hirst’s other work has included ‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living’ which was a 14-foot long Tiger Shark preserved in Formaldehyde. When Hirst created ‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living’ in 2004 the economy in Britain was still thriving and it was by having a friendship with Charles Saatchi that he was actually able to create it.Charles Saatchi is an Art Collector and made his fortune through an advertising business with his brother in the 1980’s, it is due to him sponsoring Damien Hirst along with many others that Hirst was able to break into the art world.
‘For instance, Damien Hirst is a bad artist, but he is a very important bad artist, because he’s bad in a big way that reflects a lot of the bad things about the art world and culture at large. ‘(Hickey, 2007) this is a description of Damien Hirst that shows the controversy surrounding him because some people feel as though his art is not art.The ways that both Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst worked off of the cliches and idealisms in their retrospective societies shows the similarities between them. Although from looking at both Andy Warhol’s and Damien Hirst’s work together you cannot actually see any similarities, as Warhol’s are all flat paintings and Hirst’s are mainly 3D, it is the similarities behind the meaning that I want to focus on. Both artists picked up on the power that the media have on people and they used it to their full advantage.Warhol new that the public wanted money, fame and the life-style of the rich and famous so that’s what he concentrated on – things that were popular.
Hirst also concentrates on the way the public sees money as a status, with all of his pieces costing millions to create. In conclusion I feel that both Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst were innovators of their times. They both knew exactly what the public wanted and although they were often received controversially they both stuck at what they thought to be right and I think it paid off. They both worked off of the ame hungry and money obsessed cultures that our society has become. They also both wanted fame and worked very hard to get recognized as both of them worked for around 15 years before being noticed.
I think overall Bibliography Hughes, Robert (1997). American Visions. http://eartfair. com/blog/did-anybody-really-know-pop-artist-andy-warhol/ (Accessed 15 May 2010), Hughes, Robert (1982). The Rise of Andy Warhol. http://www.
nybooks. com/articles/archives/1982/feb/18/the-rise-of-andy-warhol/ (Accessed 12 May 2010) Boothe Luce, Clare (1964). Life Magazine,