Andy Warhol's Gay Pics Go Up For Auction
By Andrew Belonsky
Pop art draws on banality. It takes the everyday and ordinary and repackages it for fresh consumption and challenge. So where does that consummate pop artist Andy Warhol's depictions of gay representations, 200 of which Christie's is auctioning off an online sale called For Members Only: Eyes on the Guise, running June 13 through June 27?
The works collected -- photos, drawings, and paintings -- are some of the artist's most emotionally detailed examinations of the male body and a gay culture that was just then coalescing and hardly as commonplace as a Campbell's Soup can. "His visual explorations of the complexity of sexuality and desire chronicle the momentous changes within the gay community in the late 20th century, when many young men were flocking to urban centers," reads the show's statement. And Christie's America Chairman Marc Porter added,, "This selection of images and drawings demonstrates Warhol’s fearlessness in both exploring and celebrating a gay identity that was emerging in late 20th century New York. The original works presented here – many for the first time – will help to expand our collective understanding of Warhol as one of the most socially significant artists and observers of our time.”
The gay identities seen here, including Warhol's own, draped in drag, are definitely art, but are they pop art? Or are they one man's chronicle of a new and emerging culture, one that wouldn't be sold wholesale for decades to come? That's all in the eye of the beholder, and that eye can see, and possibly later own, these works by bidding between June 13th and June 27th. The proceeds will go to the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.