Thursday, November 5, 2009

Review: WARHOL-O-RAMA, Peter Oresick and Pittsburg's saint

I don't live far from the Empire State Building and sometimes send love to the ape atop, batting at airplanes Misunderstanding and Fear. So I was predisposed, when I chanced on Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick on a low-neon-lemon-forced-into-a-shout yellow large as New York's event-structure of cinematic and architectural history, for more memorable strangeness.

And was made pleased. As revealed to poet Peter Oresick, WARHOL-O-RAMA, is a triumph of verisimilitude--recreates the feel of the man and his art machine. There had to be such a triumph, sooner or later. Oresick is a son of Pittsburgh. As you know and have known since before you were born at least if you live, lived or planned on spending a lifetime anywhere a poster or tomato soup can or Andy Warhol's Dracula--wirrrrr-gin bloooooood--Warhol is not only son of Pittsburgh but its greatest commodity and export. Warhol might be odd, but he is in Paradise and Carnegie, albeit born in Scotland, is stoking coals.

True, Warhol made his reputation here, where I live, but New York City claims many artists without fully understanding it serves only as studio. The real work, beauties, brutalities and attitudes, is born in the crucible of hometown.

Dispensing with the query, Was Warhol really an artist, does Oresick's "For Andy Warhol Was a Flake among Artists" (which I reproduce in full):

But an artist among flakes.

Amen to that. "Andy Warhol for Willem de Kooning" is a one-liner relineated. "I hate Andy Warhol I hate Andy / Warhol I hate Andy Warhol I / . . ." and so on. Knowing de Kooning outdistanced him as a painter, Warhol mimicked the remarkably handsome and not always so-nice artist. His white wig reproduced de Kooning's do. Of Warhol, de Kooning said he was "nuttiest of all" the pop artists.

"Andy Warhol for Photoshop®" is a stanza by stanza how-to on reproduction as Andy reproduced, with image, not biology though with destiny. More than being a primer to the artist whose worth as artist exceeds that of mere phenomenon (and it is partly that, primer, Warhol not for Dummies but for Hipsters), WARHOL-O-RAMA (the title itself evocative of American's silly bold pitch) is loving tribute, a compilation of found (such as a letter to Warhol from a Campbell Soup executive) and original poems.

Oresick's passion shows in "Andy Warhol for Philip Johnson":

Infamous architect, whose ignoramus idiom was glass, sat sadly,
in chair, in tedium, in his 98th year, in his famously all-glass house--
fabulous essay in minimal geometry--when his eyes rose gladly
past clear walls of willow & birch & proportions he'd espoused--

slick effects: reflection & transparency--to the fluorescent silkscreen:
a copier. Hung above the copier! Bemused, he slowly slumped, serene.

offers poems of poetry, poems of political commentary, poems of biography, poems of verification for Andy's Catholic church (how many more verifications needed) that Warhol made miracles and copied them, over and over and over again. See for your yourself. See for yourself. See for yourself. See for yourself.

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