Art: Andy Warhol's Seven Cadillacs
Some weeks ago we looked into some art by the Italian Futurist movement, depicting a car at speed, or at least a silhouette of it. Let's continue this trend by looking at another example of the car in art. This time done by a rather less conspicuous figure, but the highly celebrated Andy Warhol. Undoubtably every single one of you has come across his work at some stage, seeing that his work mostly revolves around object from American consumer culture. You'll see his trademark Campbell's soup tins painting re-published on t-shirts, bags and whatever else. Warhol's work was pop art, art for art's sake, or if you want to have a conversation on this topic with people of an Arts and Humanities persuasion; l'art pour l'art. No specific story, no moral story. In fact Warhol himself once described his work as: "Making money is art, and working is art and good business is the best art." Despite this lack of interest in a moral story, by the artist himself, contemporary art critics nonetheless, as they do, manage to give it a moral significance and some social credibility by pointing out that: "Warhol had captured something irresistible about the zeitgeist of American culture in the 1970s." In that light let's examine briefly one of Warhol's more interesting works for the petrolhead, called Seven Cadillacs, made in 1962 which, unsurpisingly, features seven Cadillacs. Not whole Cadillacs though, but as the eye progresses to the bottom of the painting, bit by bit, the Cadillac is more exposed. Creating, in my opinion, a sense of movement despite of course being part of a static painting. This very much harks back to the chronophotography of the nineteenth century, most notably by a chap called Edward Muybridge, which cleverly managed to depict speed in a series of photos, each depicting another stage of the movement of the subject. What else is there to say? Not much I suppose, oh the perils of pop art, it just shuts one up, momentarily.
Andy Warhol (1928-87)
Silkscreen ink on linen
56 x 19 in. (142.2 x 48.3 cm.)
The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the VisualArts, Inc.,1998.1.23
© 2010 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.