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Andy Warhol’s self-presentation oscillates between a notorious love of display on the one hand and a simultaneous wish for the disappearance and absence of the self on the other. His various media performances relentlessly foreground his carefully crafted public persona and, at the same time, negate traditional notions of individual selfhood. As a result, Warhol and his self-staging both remain curiously elusive. Unlike other readings, this text does not subsume the Warhol phenomenon under paradigms of postmodern culture but explores its genealogies and effects through the lens of the artist’s life-long obsession with stardom and celebrity culture. By looking at select self-portraits, his verbal statements and interaction with his entourage at the legendary Factory, I argue that the Warholian depletion of the self can be fruitfully mapped onto the ways in which the star functions as an everyday myth along the lines of Roland Barthes’ definition of the term. To be more precise, the figure of the star is predicated on the transformation of an individual into a mythic star image. Warhol not only both idealizes and parodies star culture through various artistic practices, but he is also himself implicated in its very dynamic. Rather than falling under the category of the »ordinary« star, Warhol has all the traits of the classical diva who collapses the boundary between public image and individual substance. Drawing on a typology of the diva as a particularly fragile star body, I show how Warhol’s self-fashioning is nourished by his vulnerable diva existence. It is precisely because of the paradoxical and in fact contradictory gestures he performs as an existentially wounded diva that Warhol continues to fascinate to this day.
|Item Type:||Book Section, not refereed, original work|
|Communities & Collections:||06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of English Studies|
|DDC:||820 English & Old English literatures|
|Deposited On:||07 Feb 2011 12:16|
|Last Modified:||04 Apr 2012 15:35|
|Publisher:||Verlag Silke Schreiber|
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