Andy Warhol Adds Value

Adding value to an artist’s work in painting is like adding value to a song copyright - the work is created and it can sit around being a work of genius no one knows about  or the artist can engage in publicity- generating activity that brings the work into the public eye,  adding monetary value to it.  Record companies used to get a large percentage of music publishing royalties originally held by the songwriter, ostensibly because the companies added value that would not otherwise accrue  by financing a variety of activities: music videos, concerts, television appearances and radio record promotion. The genius of Andy Warhol is that he knowingly created art commodities to be marketed by his careful mimesis of products for which tens of millions of advertising dollars had already been spent.  Warhol’s work was pre-marketed.  Warhol was just a flea on the back of the big dog of American commercial enterprise: Coca Cola, Campbell’s Soup, Brillo Soap Pads, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe.  This is the core of his genius,  Andy’s big idea,  his contribution to the canon of contemporary art stemming from Duchamp.  Warhol got so much intellectual mileage  for his supposed ironic slant on consumer capitalism,  when it was simply a very astute, streetwise use of an enormous store of untapped consumer product bounty.