Since beginning a massive online open course (MOOC) through the University of Edinburgh on Warhol, I have had to reconcile Andy Warhol’s presence and obvious artistic and philosophical influence upon me throughout my formative years in the 1970s and 1980s. Twenty-seven years have come and gone since Warhol’s inevitable passing in 1987, yet it is still several times a year that he comes up in conversations interestingly parallel to the themes of this course. Stranger for me still is the realization that some of the very themes in his work such as death, disaster, sex, celebrity, and wealth are present throughout many of my own artistic pursuits.
With regard to celebrity and mourning, I immediately recalled these images I produced of Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond after watching Sunset Blvd last year for the 120th time. Indeed, most if not all of Warhol’s themes are universal and as has been said, “practically transcend the time in which they were produced.” Much like classic cinema, and Sunset Blvd. in particular, art has the power to rise above a degenerate world and create a purer one.