Finish feels too platinum elegiac pure http://www.publicartfund.org/robpruitt/project not trashy tin foil speed freak glitz of Factory
(my Tweet https://twitter.com/#!/slkaplan about an hour ago)
Thursday, March 31, 2011. 2:42 pm. I always preferred early Warhol - Soup Cans, Most Wanted, Elvis, Marilyn, Electric Chair, Exploding Plastic Inevitable, Nico and Edie and the Velvets and Ultra Violet, Gerard and Brigid Polk, Empire, Blow Job, Lonesome Cowboys, Superstars, Ondine, Billy Name, all night amphetamine 47th Street Factory Warhol - to later, more domesticated incarnations.
There was certainly a great Union Square, Max's Kansas City, Interview Magazine stretch through the 70s, even while the celebrity silkscreens were being turned out en masse. But Pruitt's version is just a bit too staid. It conforms, is a sign of the times. Union Square is now a yuppie paradise, not the wild, dope ridden enclave it was back in the 70s. Is this the Andy it now deserves, an Andy for 2011?
Several reviewers have pointed out that the "Andy Monument" sculpture seems a bit ungainly, that the posture is stiff, the placement of the head on the neck not quite right, the sports jacket and skinny pants anachronistically sourced from contemporary downtown hipster iconography, the face itself thin, squished and not recognizably Warhol. Pruitt has indicated that the statue, from the neck down, was modeled off a collector friend, Andy Stillpass, who has a "similar body type", and Greg Allen has noted that Pruitt might be pranking us, once again, with a tale of two Andys.
But beyond these considerations of shallow, brittle cleverness, of coy adoptions and the recycling of art world scuttlebutt in the conception of the piece, which was apparently researched down to its ostentatious "period" props - the Bloomingdale's Medium Brown Bag and Polaroid SX-70 - is an unfortunate joyless inertia. Warhol was a notorious voyeur with a fey, affectless overlay of "That's so great". He was also a compulsive collector, an asexual aesthete and - at least at the beginning of his career - a symbol of NYC gay street punk and camp and sneer. Little of this frisson is transmitted in this bloodless bit of hagiography, which - as noted at the top - reveals its overall cluelessness by opting for an Olympian, platinum, chromed finish which all too readily forgets the funky, crinkled tin foil origins of Andy's Factory.
Every age brings its own conventions to the fusty old genre of heroic public statuary, but if Pruitt's "Andy Monument" shows us anything about our contemporary moment, it's the reflection of a shopping mecca overlaid on the unruly urban grid, the zing of consumerist bling and a heedless, headlong attention deficit disorder which has been fully substituted for circumspection and wisdom. In this sense, it is undoubtedly the Andy that Pruitt and the Public Art Fund think we deserve.