As a huge fan of this fascinating man who blured the line between art and commerce, I was looking for a well written book
thicker than a brick that would reveal once and for all the mystery that is Andy Warhol. Im still looking, the definitive Warhol bio is yet to be written it seems, but in the meantime I'll settle for this Bockris book which is a sound overall portrait of the artist and his life. Starting from his poverty and illness stricken childhood in an industrial town in Pennsylvania the author breezily tours the reader through his
college life, and his subsequent move to New York to become a highly successful (and paid) graphic artist, before establishing himself as one of the founding pioneers of pop art. From there we take rollercoaster ride through his film making years at the Factory, his subsequent shooting, and the time he spent as a socialite and portait artist in the last two decades of his life. Some light is shed on the issues concerning Andy's sexuality, Catholicism, monophobia, work ethic, short lived
intimate relationships, shopoholism, and his seemingly aloof public persona.
Though Bockris rightly bestows more pages to Warhols peak years as an artist in the sixties, he skims the later decades of his life. As with his Lou Reed biography, Bockris has a tendency to demonize his subjects towards the final chapters of his works. Try as his he might here, his weakly supported insinuations of Warhol as a cold and manipulative character are more a reflection on the authors own
feelings of insecurity, rather than their being any intrinsic truth in the matter. There is a middle way between sycophantism and character debasement, and Bockris obviously hasn't found it. It's adequately written, albeit unimaginatively, and it takes real effort on part of the reader to stop turning the pages. As it stands, a fine Warhol primer, but for those with an inquiring mind, this book will probably raise more questions than it answers.