Andy Warhol, of all the famous figures out there, might mind least that we use his birthday as an opportunity to push a book. His cultivated public persona as a naif obscured an artist and, let’s face it, an entertainer possessed of an uncanny savvy for attracting attention. From soup cans to Wayne Gretzky portraits to the Velvet Underground, Warhol inverted and subverted and perverted and just plain verted pop culture like a maestro.
In the UIP book Pop, Trickster, Fool, Kelly M. Cresap performs a nearly impossible task: accounting for the far-ranging implications of Warhol’s sustained performance as a naif. This book is as much for those who despise Warhol as those who admire him, a good thing, as even in this era of Warhol calendars and coffee cups the former still outnumber the latter, with those baffled by him perhaps most numerous of all. Cresap approaches the Warholverse from many directions, offering a vigorous account of the search for Warhol’s brain, a polemic on camp taste, and a town-hall forum representing four decades of intense debate about the artist.
Isn’t it time to dig on what all the fuss is about? Pop, Trickster, Fool shines the light on Warhol’s place at the nexus of postmodernism and queer identity politics, and on his pioneering the persona of the confused simpleton who is not only in on the joke, but telling it in about eleven different ways.