Thursday, May 23, 2013

Summer of Skwibo

The Complete Summer Guide to Tim Doyle's Art Shows in Tucson
Tim Doyle
Solar Culture Gallery

Summer has always been my favorite time of year and this year is no exception. This summer there are four opportunities to view my artwork outside of SkwiboArts' subterranean Art Lab and World Headquarters. 

Opening Saturday, May 25
31 East Toole Ave, Tucson
Emergence – Solar Culture’s quarterly group exhibition showcases a broad section of Tucson’s artistic talent. This exhibit will be no exception. A gallery and venue for over 25 years, Solar Culture is an anchor of the Historic Warehouse District. I will be showing Steeplechase a 24” x 36” acrylic on canvas.

Chubasco 2
Tim Doyle
Raices Taller 222 Gallery
Opening Saturday, June 1
218 East 6th Street, Tucson
Chubasco! – A highlight of downtown Tucson’s cultural year is Raices Taller’s annual Chubasco! show. Celebrating the yearly rains which bring most of the year’s moisture to the desert, Chubasco! features many local artists’ take on this theme. I’ll be showing Chubasco 2 (my second submission to this show.)

Opening Saturday, June 1
611 North 4th Street, Tucson
Fresh Eyes on Tucson – This is a solo show featuring several of my Tucson and Sonoran Desert themed paintings. It’s my first show at a frozen yogurt shop and I embrace the unorthodox venue because it provides me with delicious frozen yogurt as the temperature crosses the 100 degree threshold. I was not paid to say that, but I’m open to any opportunity to sell out.

Iron Horse Morning
Tim Doyle
The Parlour

Opening Saturday, September 7
110 East 6th Street, Tucson
September’s solo gallery show will launch a brand new body of work featuring some of my favorite Tucson landmarks. These paintings feature the mixture of old, new, desert and sprawl that I fell in love with when I moved to this eccentric and historic city. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

When Did Warhol Wink?

Photo: New York Times
In art history survey courses, the sort of class that everyone takes in college to get an art credit, Pop art is usually taught in a very similar way. That is, “Richard Hamilton started Pop Art with his Just What is it that Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing. It was a scathing indictment of modern consumer culture and advertising. Then Andy Warhol took the reins and made a career out of lampooning the media and consumers. Roy Lichtenstein was there too.”

Each text has a similar take on Warhol:

Marilyn Stokstad’s Art History: The emotional tone of Pop Art was more ironic, camp and cynically detached than the irreverent assemblages of Johns and Rauschenberg.

Anthony Janson’s History of Art states that Warhol was making “ironic commentaries on modern society.”

However I have never read anything in a biography or an interview or anything where Warhol comes out and says that he is poking fun at celebrity culture or media. Art historians, scholars and art fans want Warhol to be a Stephen Colbert of the art world, promoting one agenda with a wink by seemingly adopting that agenda’s opposing ideology.  But when did Warhol wink?

Andy Warhol moved to New York to be a commercial artist. The first paintings he sold were of women’s shoes. I have not encountered any account of him sitting in coffee shops with Allen Ginsberg discussing Madison Avenue gone wild. Nor have I seen any early work striving for a greater artistic truth. I believe that Warhol just loved the modern world and made art to match it. I don’t believe the Factory was ironically named. I just think Warhol liked the idea of an art studio as factory. He started Interview Magazine which centered on speaking with celebrities. His diary is largely famous people he met and a catalogue of the money he spent that day as well as personal dealings. After his death, his townhouse was found to be filled with every object imaginable. I argue that this was a man who was not critical of consumer and celebrity culture. This was a man who WAS consumer and celebrity culture.

As far as Warhol in survey books, I lean towards the interpretation of Laurie Schneider Adams in her The History of Western Art. She writes, “Warhol’s famous assertion ‘I want to be a machine’ expresses his obsession with mass production and his personal identification with the mechanical, mindless, repetitive qualities of mass consumption.”

I believe the problem is that to take Warhol at his word goes against everything we've been taught that an artist is. He is a hiccough in the narrative of western art. Since the Realists burst onto the scene in the 19th century art has been ostensibly celebrating the common man. They lampoon the upper classes, fight for worker’s rights and stand up for the voiceless in society. According to dorm room posters that take time to twirl in fields and connect with their emotions. What are people to make of an artist who is placed into the historical canon who seems to believe in people being famous because they are beautiful? Who finds purpose in supermarket packaging?

I’m all for artists twirling in fields and fighting for the common man. But we have to accept an individual artist for who they are or else the art world is being as exclusionary as the people they are largely fighting against. Why do historians insist that everything Warhol said was ironic? Why can’t art enthusiasts accept a different point of view? Why is Warhol less honest than the artist who speaks out against the rich, then sells them millions of dollars in work as a commodity to be sealed up in air tight storage rooms until auction time?

I’m not saying that people should like or dislike Andy Warhol. But they should make their judgments based on what the man said and did, not what other people say about him.