Murder By Number – Shooting as A Form of Fine Art

Posted: April 15, 2017 in Uncategorized

Andy Warhol, shot by Richard Avedon (1969)

Chris Burden’s conceptual performance from the early 1970s. Shot on Super-8, 16mm film, and half-inch video. Guided by the artist’s comments on both the works and the documentative process.

[Recall our Wednesday discussion, in which I suggested that Conceptualism is a movement which replaces the object with language, in particular instructions for creating and using a thing which need not ever exist.]

  1. Galen Bergsten says:

    I’m not the biggest fan of Warhol – when I was thirteen, I took a screen printing class in which the first project was to replicate one of his works from scratch to showcase exactly how mundane and easy it was. But I do acknowledge his success in the modern world, and his mastery of controlling the public eye.

    My understanding of this shooting, then, is that someone frankly had enough of him controlling the world. Solanas was certainly an interesting woman, what with her manifesto of “Society for Cutting Up Men,” so at first I assumed her violence was because Warhol was just a popular male figure detracting from her own success. But the more I read about this from a handful of news stories, it became pretty clear that Warhol was as pompous and inconsiderate as his art. Now, I certainly don’t condone violence of any kind, but the way Solanas and her works were minimized by Andy (coupled with her apparent schizophrenia) is more than enough motivation for her actions.

    • I’m not a cynical about Warhol as you, though I certain am skeptical. The way I can best way I have found to understand his work is that of Hal Foster, to see it was a reflection of a traumatized culture. However shrewd, scheming, disingenuous he might have been, Warhol does seem to have been a very sensitive individual, and an index of the trauma experience by an entire society. Warhol, it seems, made himself become so diffident in direct reaction to the obtrusive masculinity, and the accompanying displays of power, which had become such a prominent part of American life. As such a blank slate, it become very easy for persons to project almost any fantasy onto him. In this respect, Warhol had all it took to become a kind of cult leader, or magician. And, as we read in IT3, it doesn’t take long before the magician begins to believe in his own magic. I’m hardly saying my reading of Warhol is correct. I only suggest that Steinberg has already suggested Mauss’s social forces we at work in the New York art scene, in particular amongst the expressionist and post-expressionist. It should not surprise us if similar forces were at work in the heart of Pop.

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