Ecco: HarperCollins. Apr. 2020. 976p. ISBN 9780062298393. $45. BIOG
Several biographies and memoirs of pop art superstar Andy Warhol (1928–87) have been written by people who knew him closely, but this newest portrait—and lengthiest at some 900 pages—may, through its wealth of detail, become the treatment that defines Warhol for a generation not yet born during his lifetime. With the perspective of time and distance, and through extensive research in and support from the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, art critic Gopnik’s highly readable account carries the artist’s legacy forward into the 21st century. Notable is the concern that Gopnik has to sort fact from fiction, weigh the accuracy of sources, and attempt to understand the reality behind the artist’s coy and mysterious public persona. The text weaves juicy gossip (much of it R-rated) about Warhol and his social circle with thoughtful insights about his art practice and creative influences, and Gopnik seems genuinely excited to explore Warhol’s story, from working-class Pittsburgh to international jetsetter, and to struggle to understand this enigmatic man.
VERDICT Certainly for those fascinated with Warhol, but equally for those seeking an in-depth yet accessible introduction to the artist. [See Prepub Alert, 10/14/19.]
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