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Concerning ConsequencesStudies in Art, Destruction, and Trauma$
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Kristine Stiles

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226774510

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226304403.001.0001

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Warhol’s “What?” (2016)1

Warhol’s “What?” (2016)1

(p.309) Warhol’s “What?” (2016)1
Concerning Consequences

Kristine Stiles

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines Andy Warhol's foresight regarding the demise of cultural conventions, augmented by the ubiquity of capitalism, advertising, and technology. Many in the 1960s dismissed Warhol as a mere product of Madison Avenue advertising and capitalism. Rainer Crone attempted to right this perception, insisting that Warhol had “revolutionized traditional aesthetics” by uniting silkscreen, painting, and photography. By contrast, Steven Koch presented Warhol as the cruel and poignant icon in his 1973 book Stargazer: Andy Warhol's World and His Films. In 1996, Hal Foster published “Death in America,” which extended his reading of Warhol's traumatic imagery to a broader analysis of art. Beginning with his oft-repeated question “What?” the chapter analyzes Warhol's behavior and argues that it is not a “performance” but a performative manifestation of traumatic subjectivity. It also considers Warhol's views on Americans and the United States, along with his reproduction of shadows in his works.

Keywords:   capitalism, Andy Warhol, advertising, Rainer Crone, Steven Koch, Hal Foster, traumatic imagery, art, traumatic subjectivity, shadows

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