Design Drama

documenting the delicate dance of design

Warhol & Rockwell – what if? April 10, 2008

Filed under: history,illustration,inspiration,social networking — Beth D @ 3:45 pm
Tags: , ,

I signed up for a Netflix account about six months ago and have been totally engrossed in catching up on movies I’ve never seen as well as some old favorites.

One of my favorite movies of all time, “Basquiat”, showed up in the mailbox this week – if you haven’t seen it, pop it in your queue – it’s the story of Jean Michel Basquiat – his rise to fame from a little known NYC graffiti artist to darling of the art world, friend of Andy Warhol and struggling heroin addict who died in 1988 at the age of 27 from the toll of the drug use.

The movie started my thought process about artistic communication – we’re all familiar with the famous Warhol quote “in the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes” — seems this quote gets more and more prophetic with the endless stream of personalities becoming famous for nothing more than appearing on a sex tape or a bland reality series.

In this day and age of MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr, how would Andy Warhol and his predecessor, Norman Rockwell utilize the medium of the internet age?

Norman Rockwell is most famous for his illustrations of the Saturday Evening Post. The SEP was the media standard of it’s day, reaching countless subscribers. What would Rockwell paint today? Would he design backgrounds on MySpace? Would he submit his illustrations for the mastheads of CNN, MSNBC or the DrudgeReport?

As for Warhol, in addition to his soup cans, what brand would Warhol make into a pop culture phenomenon? The Apple logo or a limited edition iPod? Limited edition Nike sneakers? – in his heydey, Warhol used his own Interview magazine to spread his pop art manifesto. Of course, he would have a blog, and I imagine that he would have other people write it for him. As much as has been documented about Warhol’s love of gossip, I’m sure he’d have Perez Hilton bookmarked. Warhol had his own type of Twitter language in his diaries… his constant documentation of his day, even down to the amount he spent on taxi rides and magazines – this is in addition to the “time capsules” – countless numbers of cardboard boxes in which he collected items that passed through his daily life. How would all this artistic communication evolve with the advent of text messaging, iChat and the ability to publish with a click of a mouse?

Rather than “Elvis 11 times” or the famous portraits of Mick Jagger and Marilyn Monroe, would Andy paint Paris Hilton or those girls from “The Hills”? Would Studio54 have it’s own Flickr pool to display the photographs of the throngs of people waiting to get past the velvet rope and the photos of the wild nights experienced by the fabulous people?

All questions to ponder… but one thing is for sure, Andy Warhol would love the 21st century.


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