Warhol by Ratcliff

The life and work of Andy Warhol has inspired many writers to tell of the artist’s secrets in published writings.However, Carter Ratcliff accomplishes this feat in a unique fashion, profiling Warhol’s work in Andy Warhol.A must-read for anybody interested in the origins of American Pop art, Ratcliff’s book touches on all aspects of Warhol’s work.
Segmented chronologically, Ratcliff explains the influence and significance of select paintings, as well as sections devoted to Warhol’s sketches, photographs, movies and notes on the techniques used by the artist.This format, combined with the inclusion of nearly 100 prints of paintings, is effective because a natural theme flows through the chronological ordering of the monograph. Some of the influences are obvious in Warhol’s work. However, the cumulative effect of the artist’s attempts is more easily understood through the chronological ordering of the pieces.The chronological ordering helps the reader understand what social or personal beliefs or conflicts the artist was dealing with pertaining to the given time period.For example, Warhol produced many pieces with singular subject matter displayed multiple times as in his Campbell’s soup cans, Coca-Cola bottles and dollar signs, possibly just comforting symbols to Warhol as well as the American Pop Culture.Also, Ratcliff leads the reader on a journey through the details, effects and consequences of the work.The author also describes similarities in select Warhol pieces.The development of Warhol as an artist is easily understood using this format, as his work transforms from the playful character of Saturday’s Popeye
(Figure 1) to the realism of Skull or the political power of the Hammer and Sickle series.
Andy Warhol takes a convincing and comprehensive look at the pursuits of the artist, basing observations on a plethora of sources.The information cited i…