Possession Obsession: Andy Warhol and Collecting
Edited by John W. Smith
The Andy Warhol Museum
160 pages, $39.95
by Christopher Makos
Charta. 412 pages, $29.95
Andy Warhol: Drawing and Illustrations of the 1950’s
Distributed Arts Publishers
112 pages, $9.95
Keith Haring: Heaven and Hell
Edited by Götz Adriani
Hatje Cantz Publishers. 200 pages, $45.
ANDY WARHOL and Keith Haring met in person in 1983, near the end of the senior artist’s career but still in the flowering of Haring’s all-too-brief life (he died in 1990). What seems to have excited Warhol most about the younger artist was his plan to open a retail outlet for the sale of his work. The Pop Shop opened its doors in 1986 and sold Haring-designed merchandise that featured his artwork on T-shirts, posters, and even inflatable animals, among other commercially produced items. Warhol had strongly encouraged Haring to pursue this enterprise, which, after all, was entirely consistent with Warhol’s own conflation of “high” art and “low.” What’s more, Warhol was at this stage of his life increasingly indulging his obsession with commercial culture by collecting its artifacts in great heaps, culling the dealerships of New York as a daily ritual: in short, by shopping.
Among the recent books in the never-ending supply of Warholiana are the beautiful Possession Obsession, and two small, quirky ones, a book of photographs of Warhol by Christopher Makos that includes virtually no text, and a book of “drawings and illustrations” that reproduce Warhol’s early illustrations as a commercial artist. Keith Haring, who was much more widely respected in Europe than in the U.S., is also the subject of a new work, a handsomely produced book entitled Keith Haring: Heaven and Hell. All four of these books have something of interest to offer both aficionados of pop art and pop culture and to those yet to be initiated into the worlds of these two artists.