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I’ve mentioned Warhol several times here in these pages, mostly talking about how spectacularly uninspiring I find most of his work to be. Today, on what would have been his 85th birthday, his legions of admirers are going all-out to celebrate his career. More power to them.

In order to commemorate banality with more banality, the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh (his birthplace) is providing us with a live webcam trained on  his gravesite. I watched it for awhile this morning. Mostly, there’s just a couple of balloons waving in the breeze but for a brief time there I was treated to the sight of two women taking pictures of his headstone and waving at me. Cool.

There’s even a link you can click on to order flowers and actually watch them be delivered. Cooler still.

And…as if that weren’t enough, they’ve even converted some stills of the grave site to Warhol-style “art.

Andy Warhol's Grave - Pop Art Style (from EarthCam via Huffington Post)

Andy Warhol’s Grave – Pop Art Style (from EarthCam via Huffington Post)

I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade here, but Warhol’s greatest “gift” to our culture was to define art as anything you wanted it to be, which in my book defines it out of existence. If everything is art, then nothing is.

This is not to say that art is meant to be exclusionary. It isn’t. But it should have something to tell us. Warhol began by breaking down the barriers between art on the one hand and people’s everyday lives on the other, which was good. It started out as a favor but  then quickly eroded into a blizzard of repetition, solipsism, and self-homage. Eventually, he became a caricature of himself. He opened doors by completely removing walls, leaving nothing for structure and support.

His work leaves me feeling spiritually empty. He symbolizes the erosion of seriousness and of depth and spawned a generation of followers who continued his destructive legacy.

Tammy Visits with Chairman Mao (©2013 Richard X. Moore)

Tammy Visits with Chairman Mao (©2013 Richard X. Moore)

On the bright side. I can call myself an artist now. Everyone can.


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