Postmodernism in the arts repudiated many of the basic teachings of modernism: the myth of individual genius, for example, and the concept of originality. Yet arts institutions continued to operate throughout the postmodern period, and do so right up to the present moment, as though that critique never happened. Museums, foundations, government endowments, and university art departments all effortlessly absorbed a movement which was more or less devoted to destroying their conception of the arts. They treated the postmodernists exactly the way they’d treated the modernists.
by Crispin Sartwell
The Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board proceeded as if the postmodern era that Warhol crystallized never happened at all.
As the ur-postmodernist, Warhol’s entire artistic practice and persona stood, quite intentionally, in opposition to modernist ideas. He was the very antithesis of a Van Gogh, a Picasso, a Pollock. Where they (it was held) re-made the world visually and emotionally in the smithies of their tortured souls (to paraphrase James Joyce), Warhol blithely swiped subject matter from mass media. He presented himself as a kind of empty mirror for the images that were already all around us in advertising or entertainment or packaging. And his persona was famously cool and withdrawn, or even blank: just the opposite of the outsized, impassioned personalities of Picasso or Pollock.
Nevertheless, like the arts establishment generally, the Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board proceeded as if the postmodern era that Warhol crystallized never happened at all. The board stamped, in indelible ink, works it rejected as original Warhols. Their decisions make a substantial difference in the art’s value.