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Warhol began his artistic career as a commercial illustrator for shoe fashions and a designer of display windows in which various pumps and slippers figured prominently. Indeed, one is tempted to raise here -- far too prematurely -- one of the central issues about Postmodernism itself and its possible political dimensions: Andy Warhol's work in fact turns centrally around commodification, and the great billboard images of the Coca-Cola bottle or the Campbell's soup can, which explicitly foreground the commodity fetishism of a transition to late capital, ought to be powerful and critical political statements.

Source type: picture
Info: Three Coke Bottles
Original size: 802x1000 px. Edit

Warhol began his artistic career as a commercial illustrator for shoe fashions and a designer of display windows in which various pumps and slippers figured prominently. Indeed, one is tempted to raise here -- far too prematurely -- one of the central issues about Postmodernism itself and its possible political dimensions: Andy Warhol's work in fact turns centrally around commodification, and the great billboard images of the Coca-Cola bottle or the Campbell's soup can, which explicitly foreground the commodity fetishism of a transition to late capital, ought to be powerful and critical political statements.

Source type: picture
Info: Campbell’s Soup Cans
Original size: 1596x2000 px. Edit
Source type: picture
Info: Campbell’s Soup Cans
Original size: 768x246 px. Edit

Here, on the contrary, it is as though the external and colored surface of things -- debased and contaminated in advance by their assimilation to glossy advertising images -- has been stripped away to reveal the deathly black and-white substratum of the photographic negative which subtends them. Although this kind of death of the world of appearance becomes thematized in certain of Warhol's pieces, most notably the traffic accidents or the electric chair series, this is not, I think, a matter of content any longer but of some more fundamental mutation both in the object world itself -- now become a set of texts or simulacra -- and in the disposition of the subject.

Source type: picture
Info: Five Deaths on Orange
Original size: 900x1197 px. Edit

Here, on the contrary, it is as though the external and colored surface of things -- debased and contaminated in advance by their assimilation to glossy advertising images -- has been stripped away to reveal the deathly black and-white substratum of the photographic negative which subtends them. Although this kind of death of the world of appearance becomes thematized in certain of Warhol's pieces, most notably the traffic accidents or the electric chair series, this is not, I think, a matter of content any longer but of some more fundamental mutation both in the object world itself -- now become a set of texts or simulacra -- and in the disposition of the subject.

Source type: picture
Info: Electric Chair
Original size: 864x649 px. Edit