GLORIFY ART THROUGH SOCIETY

Posted by Jean, 03.12.2017

 

In art, it is very common to use our society's symbols to adress universal topics such as beauty, passion, moral values, and many others. By doing so, the social symbols chosen by the artist acquire a "mythical" and "historical" gaze.

 

Andy Warhol - Marilyn, 1962 -- Sandro Botticelli - Birth of Venus, 1484 (detail)

In 1965, art critic Gillo Dorfles noticed that artists often considered their artworks as "immediately historical". They immediatley acquired a "symbol status"...

Just like Andy Warhol's Marylins and Campbell Soup! Andy Warhol mythified Marylin as if she were Venus, and glorified Campbell Soup as if it were one of Christ's disciples... He replaced our historical and religious symbols with contemporary symbols of our society and declared, "supermarkets are like museums for me". He stopped time to drive us towards a present that became immediately part of our history... Additionally, he used "the dignified tools of our society" – namely mass production. By doing that, he glorified and mythified our entire society...

Andy Warhol - Campbell Soup, 1962 / Guido Reni - Santiago de Compostella, 17th century

Another artist followed a similar path: Jeff Koons. He mixed Andy Warhol's social art with Marcel Duchamp's ready-made. For example, he transformed folkloric trinkets into kitsch sculptures realised with the best (and most expensive) technologies. He amplified and glorified the stereotypes of our modernity, thereby giving them an ironic dimension...

Jeff Koons - Ushering in Banality, 1988

After the 1950's-60's' individualistic aesthetic (Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg...), another generation of artists (Andy Wharhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons, etc.) appeared, who heralded a "collective aesthetic" that meant ultimately to transform modernity into myth...