Thursday, January 22, 2015

Warholian Video Art Takes Hold Of Family

A still from Andy Warhol's "Empire."
Back in the day I had a friend who was a serious fan of Andy Warhol. My friend wasn't a collector or a party-goer at The Factory, but a serious exhibitor of art who was thrilled with the conceptual flights of Warhol.

My friend staged a Warhol film festival which showcased many of his works. Several of the films appeared as studies of a singular activity, such as "Man Eating A Mushroom."

The crowning achievement of the festival was a screening of "Empire" -- a silent movie, filmed in slow motion, of the Empire State Building in New York City. The film runs eight hours and five minutes and has a few seconds of action when a blurry Warhol walks in the foreground a few times throughout the film. Abridged showings of the film were never allowed, and supposedly the unwatchability of the film was an important part of the reason the film was created.

Back when I was cool I sat in the theater marveling at the audacity of using motion picture technology to render a static object. I sat for over an hour staring at the screen, my mind running through permutation after permutation about what type of message, art, legacy Warhol strove for.

Whatever my conclusions they've long evaporated except for the thought that the film still stands a marvel as a playful, subversive work.

So when my 10-year-old filmed 16 minutes of him hitting a discarded pager with a hammer, I immediately thought of Warhol's films.

I thought I don't want anyone to be bored or have to face the void of conceptual art. With that in mind I cranked up the speed to 400% of normal for a more concise video. Enjoy!

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