"I'm a deeply superficial person," said Andy Warhol ambiguously, and said that there was absolutely nothing behind his pop art, the countless Campbell's cans, Marilyns and Jackies.
That all of this, including one's own stylized persona, is only superficial: a brightly colored reflection of the mass consumer culture in which art and people are marketed equally - and in which, according to another much-cited bon mot by the artist, "everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes".
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What Warhol predicted, television and social media have made reality.
It's hard to imagine what he did today on Instagram, Spotify and Twitter.
Warhol, the commercial artist, silkscreen artist and factory owner, filmmaker and music producer, the model, occasional actor and magazine founder, looks seductively present 35 years after his death.
Recordings of how he painted the singer Debbie Harry on the computer in 1985 and thus promoted the Commodore Amiga may document an artistic low point, but suggest contemporaneity.
And Warhol's series of photographic “Self-Portraits in Drag” bring to mind today's gender debates.
But aren't these retrospective projections?
With their six-part Netflix documentary “The Andy Warhol Diaries”, producer Ryan Murphy and director Andrew Rossi want to interpret the artist entirely from our present and at the same time from his time.
Visually, her work is a kaleidoscopic thunderstorm of images.
Murphy, the man behind the abysmal long-running hit "American Horror Story", can let Rossi draw from the full, and he does it, with a cutting speed in zapping pace.
No other artist has documented his life and work as obsessively as Warhol, whether in Polaroids, videos or "Time Capsules".
Everything seems inexhaustible - and then repeats itself, at least in this documentary, which focuses on the last eleven years of the artist's life.
In the foreground - an extremely current fixation on the supposedly "authentic" - is the search for what is hidden behind art: Warhol privately, the human being, the lover, the suffering genius.
His voice is reconstructed by an AI
From 1976 onwards, the artist dictated diary entries to his confidante Pat Hackett over the phone.
Edited by Hackett, they were published posthumously as a book in 1989, which now serves as the basis for the documentation.
In excerpts or scenes with backlighting, Bill Irwin plays Warhol, always masked by wigs and glasses, with the telephone receiver to his ear when he passes on his diarical notes, which alternate between confession, society report and bookkeeping.
The coup is said to be the voice: Spoken by Irwin, but reshaped by AI software in the sound of the true Warhol, it sounds even more lifeless than the most lifeless diction of the man who imagined machine people.
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