The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again)

Reviewed by Paul Pescador
Let’s start by talking about the manner in which he sits in bed on his phone and listens, listen to another describe to him what they see on television (soap opera, commercials, etc) and through this we also become listeners. We absorb these banal unimportant moments, half-formed thoughts that pour out of each.
I read through conversations he has with them. Always an A and B conversation, in which he is A and B is someone else, a close confidante or a recent acquaintance. We only get hints. He doesn’t need much for a connection as people are collectable or disposable. B is a placeholder, someone to fill in the gap.
I lose track of who B is. Gender is often vague.
They seem to care about each other, (A and B) but this intimacy feels so new, like a friend you’ve just met who you don’t really know much about, but feel like you do.
B tells him he should be President. He could read his diary out loud on the radio.
There are moments that we feel A’s vulnerability as he speaks of his loneliness as a child.
He also speaks about the time he was shot. No, wait. He describes others experience of when he was shot. Always through the lens of B.
He’s also a private man, who goes to church with his mother every Sunday. Someone who quietly observes, watching from both inside and outside of a conversation.
He talks about not wanting to be alone.
He states that sex is a nostalgia for sex, wanting to reproduce the idea of something and intimating an experience, a memory of something that never existed.
There is a flatness and absurdity. A hiding of self, but then something’s reveals.
When he speaks of death, he says he doesn’t believe in it, but also has no proof that it doesn’t exist. Death glossed over and pushed away.
And then B disappears again and again it’s just A.
This book was ghostwritten, I ask myself can A actually become Andy?
He says he doesn’t want to be wasteful, but also wants to produce a million copies of the same image. A perverse contradiction between, quantity and waste, a systematic repetition in which through mass quantity everything loses its value and becomes a copy of itself.
I go to MOCA after work, it’s free on Thursdays and all of his 102 shadow paintings are up. I walk the room and try to take them in both individually as well a unit. Each silk screen versions of the same image, but shift in color. Some appear more brushy than others. There is a continuous flow between them almost like an animated cartoon, which bounces between shadow and image, light and dark, subject and index. I hear a docent ask a group of visitors which is their favorite. I know this work isn’t about their individuality and wonder if perhaps they should be each seen alone.
There is a beauty to the objects around him. Money isn’t dirty, its too valuable to be. He orders food he doesn’t like in order to stay thin. The universality of the mass produced object: Coca Cola, Hershey’s and McDonald’s. Everyone drinks Coke.
Things repeat and become boring, at times menial, as he speaks about cleaning his closet. Everyday tasks, but then I get lost in that boredom and it becomes like listening to someone’s day to day problems. You fall into them and observe. They become meditative, frustrating and reflective.
Watcher. Observer. Recorder. What does he want?
Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again). Harvest, 1977.