This book explores Andy Warhol’s creative engagement with social class. During the 1960s, as neoliberalism perpetuated the idea that fixed classes were a mirage and status an individual achievement, Warhol’s work appropriated images, techniques, and technologies that have long been described as generically “American” or “middle class.” Drawing on archival and theoretical research into Warhol’s contemporary cultural milieu, Grudin demonstrates that these features of Warhol’s work were in fact closely associated with the American working class.
The emergent technologies Warhol conspicuously employed to make his work—home projectors, tape recorders, film and still cameras—were advertised directly to the working class as new opportunities for cultural participation. What’s more, some of Warhol’s most iconic subjects—Campbell’s soup, Brillo pads, Coca-Cola—were similarly targeted, since working-class Americans, under threat from a variety of directions, were thought to desire the security and confidence offered by national brands.
Anthony E. Grudin, Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Vermont, received his B.A. in Art History from Reed College (1999) and his M.A. and Ph.D. (2001, 2008) in Art History from the University of California, Berkeley, where he had a Javits Fellowship. Anthony's research focuses on the challenges of late modern cultural production and reproduction, with an emphasis on the ways in which these challenges are visualized in Andy Warhol’s appropriations of mass culture