October 18, 2011 § Leave a comment
While researching the evolution of technology and its role in communication I stumbled upon an NPR podcast, Warhol Was Right About ’15 Minutes Of Fame’ discussing how social media has seen Andy Warhol’s vision of fame realized. Warhol said that, “In the future everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes,” while this is a well known quote many have struggled to decipher exactly what he meant by this. I don’t think the 1960’s Pop artist was by any means a prophet or a time traveler, but I do think that he saw something about American culture and consumerism that most people were too close to see. Warhol saw that everything around us is manufactured and made to be consumed, even the news. Warhol also realized the vanity of people and how this vanity and need to feel important in the world fed largely into consumerism. Many people felt he made a mockery of the art scene by presenting commercial illustrations as art. What many people still don’t understand is that by doing this Warhol was able to create a visual conversation on manufacturing. Warhol saw the idea of ‘celebrity’ as a not only manufactured product, but also something everyone desired.
Warhol used images of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Campbell’s Soup and electric chairs to celebrate the celebrity and how it is consumed. Warhol’s statement “In the future everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes,” has come true because of social media. Social media has given the public authorship and power in the media. The general public no longer has to sit back and simply consume news and information, we now have the ability to be not just a part of the flow of news and information but also a source.
Warhol said in his book From A to B & Back Again: The Philosophy of Andy Warhol
“I’m confused about who the news belongs to. I always have it in my head that if you name’s in the news, then the news should be paying you. Because it’s your news and they’re taking it and selling it as their product. But then they always say they’re helping you. And that’s true too, but still, if people didn’t give the news their news and if everybody kept their news to themselves, the news wouldn’t have any news. So I guess you should pay each other. But I haven’t figured it out fully yet.”
Social media gives people to a forum to share their news and to be famous in their own right for 15 minutes. I have been working on away to visually communicate how this idea. A way to say Warhol was right, everyone does have their 15 minutes of Fame and it’s come true on Facebook. I liked the idea of incorporating the Marilyn Monroe image, because I think its recognizable as a piece of Andy Warhol’s work and as Marilyn the celebrity. I hope using this image will make people think of Warhol’s philosophies of consumption and celebrity. I then thought to use Facebook avatar before you upload a profile picture to show that through Facebook Warhol’s prophecy has come true. The avatar representing that it can be anyone. I’ve made a few pieces but my problem currently is that although almost everyone my age is on Facebook the profile avatar isn’t really very recognizable. I’m not sure if this makes my idea more interesting, because it shows how much Facebook has permeated out culture, almost like we’re so close and involved with it that we can’t see our way out.
My thought was to recreate Andy Warhol’s Marilyn through screen printing it with the Facebook Avatars on top. However, after consulting with the screen printing studio I’ve decided that would be too tricky and time consuming. My next idea was to print the image of Marilyn onto canvas and then simply screen print the Facebook avatar on top. I ran in trouble though because I couldn’t find the 3×3 image I had been using in high resolution, not good for printing. After some thought and looking through some more of Warhol’s pieces I’m wondering if it’s really necessary to use repetitive imagery. I’m trying to deconstruct this piece down to its simplest forms to best communicate my message of how anyone can have their Marilyn 15 minutes of fame on facebook. This is the next round I’ve done.
The last piece, which I made yesterday, I think I like the best. It appears that Marilyn is fitting into the Facebook image, like a puzzle. I want it to look like anyone can fit into this space which why I left the white sliver. I’m not sure if it’s there yet. But I kinda of like that people can’t recognize the Facebook Avatar at fist, its like the arrow in the FedEx logo, at first you don’t notice it, but then that’s all you can see. Any thoughts, comments are welcome!