Saturday, June 21, 2008

Andy Warhol: Prince of Pop by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan

Looking through the YALSA Best Books for Young Adults lists in search of biographies, I came upon a book with a pretty scary cover, Andy Warhol: Prince of Pop by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan. Though I readily recognize Warhol's distinctive paintings, I really did not know much about his life other than it was shocking in the eyes of many moralists and probably not a life to recommend repeating. Reading this mostly nonjudgmental book confirmed my general impression and filled in the story of the 1960s icon.

When you read about the lives of artists, you discover that many lead unconventional lives, often outside the strictures of their societies. To make their art, they devoted themselves to their work and obsessed about the details. Often shunning society at large, they associated with other artists when they were not isolating themselves. Andy Warhol's life seems to have been a variation of this model notable for being extremely social within the counter culture of the times. Warhol's Factory, where he painted and shot films was almost always open to his associates, employees, and fans until one of them shot him. Then it became a fortress.

Why is the book on the 2005 YALSA list? "Books with proven or potential appeal to teens" is the criteria for inclusion. According to the web page for 2005, the book was a unanimous choice of the fifteen member committee. I suspect that they all recognized the teen appeal of rebellion and celebrity. Adults enjoy reading about these themes, too. I enjoyed the quick read and now want to see the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

Andy Warhol: Prince of Pop goes well in either teen or adult collections. The authors included a chronology, glossary, bibliography, and film list, giving the book some reference value.

Greenberg, Jan and Jordan, Sandra. Andy Warhol: Prince of Pop. Delacorte Press, 2005. ISBN 038573056x

1 comment:

____Maggie said...

I loved this book! I found him an odd curiosity growing up. I liked to watch the latest fashion shows on CNN Saturday mornings. He was usually in the back ground with his white shock hair and pock face. Oh, and oh-so skinny!

Greenburg and Jordan make a fine team, too. :)