15 Minutes of Fame

Andy Warhol, the American pop art painter, printmaker, and avant-garde filmmaker, is the person credited with coining the expression 15 minutes of fame.

Accurately quoted, what he said in 1968 is a paraphrase of something he printed on a catalog for an exhibit in Stockholm that same year. What he said is: In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.

What he meant was that in the then current era about 15 minutes of fame or media attention is all you can expect if you are a pop culture celeb, a work of art produced by a celeb, or if you are an in-vogue phenomenon like pop art.

Warhol was right. At the time he greatly influenced modern art generally; and his works were collected at high prices by an avid clique of admirers. But since then pop art has passed by the wayside and the popularity of Warhol’s art has greatly diminished among the fickle masses.

But Warhol was also wrong. The same is not true for all fine arts or fine artists. What goes for some modern artists doesn’t go for all modern artists, nor does it go for all artists of bygone eras.

Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh, Renoir and many other recent or contemporary artists alive today have followed a different trajectory; Raphael and Rembrandt have nothing to worry about; even the artists at Lascaux are still greatly admired and appreciated—and they go back 17,000 years.

Could it be that fine art lasts only 15 minutes if it’s shallowly conceived and executed for a shallow audience? Could it be that there’s a difference between 15-minute art, artists, and patrons and other art, artists, and patrons, a difference that depends on what the artist has to say, the way he says it, and the audience with whom he resonates?

Explore these ideas further at Electricka’s web site. Visit my feature there called The Muse Of Fine Arts.

2011 – 2012, Decision Consulting, Inc. (DCI). All rights reserved. All copies must include this copyright statement.

This entry was posted in Arts Criticism, Fine Arts, General. Bookmark the permalink.

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