Warhol: A life as art by Blake Gopnik

Reviewed by
August 2020, no. 423
Buy this book
Paul McDermott reviews 'Warhol: A life as art' by Blake Gopnik

Warhol: A life as art

by Blake Gopnik

Allen Lane, $69.99 hb, 972 pp

Buy this book

Warhol: A life as art by Blake Gopnik

Reviewed by
August 2020, no. 423

Blake Gopnik’s Warhol is a monumental undertaking. At nearly a thousand pages, there is an intensity of labour present so dense that the tome feels light by comparison. The fifty chapters are arranged in chronological order after a prelude detailing Warhol’s first untimely death. This order, from birth to his second untimely death, charts a linear path through the chaotic, challenging, and extraordinary life of one of the art world’s most precocious and baffling personalities.

A large part of the difficulty in dealing with Warhol’s life is Warhol himself. He proves a most unreliable source of information, one who consciously obscured his presence in the creation of his own work, claimed he wanted to be a machine, became the epitome of ennui, dismissed his own legacy, and, when asked what led to his ground-breaking ideas, would reply in a louche whisper, ‘Oh, I don’t know.’ Even now the monosyllabic responses and the complete disinterest in showing interest can be shocking. The yawning voids that Warhol left were invariably filled by other commentators.

Paul McDermott reviews 'Warhol: A life as art' by Blake Gopnik

Warhol: A life as art

by Blake Gopnik

Allen Lane, $69.99 hb, 972 pp

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