Monday, April 14, 2008

Artist as Celebrity
“Le Roi est Mort”

Kofi Fosu Forson

Warhol, le roi du sublime, master of self-promotion!

Before Diddy discovered Mary J. Andy reinvented The Velvet Underground. Some call it Chutzpah! Some brand it as cheeese! Warhol singularly changed the world.

Systematically, the programming of modern day entertainment has paid homage to his prediction of fame and celebrity. That indeed everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes. This is the very sentiment branded those with integrity to others who have none.

Andy Warhol is known to many as an artist, way before his role as an entrepreneur. His manner of governing stemmed from his will to command and control the operation of art which for most people was separated between art as business and fanfare.

Artists have never been given an accredited role in self-marketing. They mostly depended on others, agents, who had more power and influential roles. This can be found in all sources of entertainment.

Art, in all its obscure interpretations, makes it difficult to propel a commercial evaluation and therefore be grounded as saleable. Andy Warhol minimized that strain by using a language best defined as pompous, clever, charming and sophisticated to win over a circle of those who followed him and helped establish a new form of promoting the individual as the work of art.

He predicted that the artist would become rock star. Seemingly, this had happened with David Bowie’s emergence as Ziggy Stardust. However in the 1980’s given the notion of diversification among the classes with the two most prominent circumstances being the establishing of the yuppie along with the cultural movement in the East Village of New York, the artist both as writer and painter, filmmaker, fashion designer… saw a heightened success in people like Jean Michel Basquiat, Jay Maclnerny, Susan Sidelman among others.

Those who followed in a form of imitation like Michael Ricardo Andreev and Vincent Gallo were prone to the hustle, name dropping and the occasional photo op. Where as these artists have made their way through the art world having gained popularity and respectful success, they haven’t gained the level of rock star Andy Warhol had predicted.

Generations later found Damian Hirsch making the most for his art among any living artist. Chris Ofili confessed to his use of dung in the creative process, setting off a discussion as to what is art. And TAFA, a local Ghanaian artist made an attempt to catch lightning in a bucket with his painting “Binladin as Christ.” It was an example how through the decades past works of art like “Piss Christ” set off a trend.

In the modern day art market, the artist finds a knack for promotion through a personal website, myspace or Youtube. Overall the internet affords the artist a way to entice the general public. Unfortunately this comes with a banality as to who is king or crucified.

Unofficially, the king is dead.

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