The Andy Warhol Suit as a Simulacrum - Revolver Gallery

The Andy Warhol Suit as a Simulacrum

Andy Warhol posing with camera and a picture frame

A common thread in Warhol’s work is the exploration of the authentic self. His works are often images of common household items and celebrity figures, that signify that people are disconnected with the reality of the world due to omnipresent images. The message of the art is truer today than it was when he produced them, it is a pivotal commentary on the mass media age.

Philosopher Jean Baudrillard discusses the concept of simulacra, that considers how signs, symbols and images have become more potent than the subject they intend to signify in the modern world. They are no longer a representation of something else, but a truth, and entirety of themselves. This weaves into and becomes a network of simulacra called simulacrum, which can be defined as a copy sans an original. This is perhaps what Warhol meant by putting on his “Warhol Suit”. The version of himself that he put forward was a representation of himself, but did the representation become more potent than the subject? Was the facade more real than Warhol? Or was the facade Warhol himself?

A video recently dug up from Page Powell’s archives documents Andy Warhol on the day of the 15th anniversary of the Interview magazine, where refuses to go the the party due to a self help class. HIs physical appearance can be considered, for instance, as a facade. He is very obviously wearing a blonde wig, the obviousness of which is accentuated by the dark bold color of his eyebrows. Additionally he was considered quite eloquent when he spoke with people in private, although in the video he is almost the opposite of eloquent. So then again, which is the real Warhol? In Baudrillard’s words, perhaps, Warhol’s would put on the Warhol suit as a simulacra, but the Warhol suit became so potent as to take over, and eventually the network of suits was not a copy of the truth but a new truth in itself.

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