A Is for Archive: Warhol’s World from A to Z

Yale Univ. (Literature Now). 2019. 320p. 9780300233445. $45. FINE ARTS
This excellent companion to Blake Gopnik’s Warhol offers a primarily visual take on the artist’s life through some of the thousands of items held in the archives of the Andy Warhol Museum. Organized alphabetically (“A Is for Autograph,” “U Is for Underground,” “X Is for X-rated”—and it is), here is an introduction to Warhol’s world through some of the many objects he collected, hoarded, prized, or tossed aside. The range is far too diverse and extraordinary to do anything more than hint at—8 x 10 glossies of celebrities Shirley Temple, Stevie Wonder, and Mick Jagger; food labels; corsets; cowboy boots; record albums; examples of Warhol’s charming, quirky fashion illustrations; a taxidermied lion; 1950s film fan magazines; photos of Warhol friends, lovers, and hangers-on; his studio business receipts; scribbled notes to and from the artist. Archivist ­Wrbican’s essays introduce the materials in chapters based on thematic exhibitions organized by the Warhol Archives Study Center. As Gopnik puts it, these items are a “mad accumulation of castoffs…inviting future artists and curators to raid as they please.” 
VERDICT For archivists, students, and fans of Warhol’s life and art.
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