"In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." -- Andy Warhol, Stockhom (1968)
PBS is running a four hour documentary on Andy Warhol this week and all I could think of were the sick days I took back in elementary school so that I might glimpse the world as my parents see it. This usually involved watching a lot of tv. And I always remembered the silver haired apparition as he would float occasionally from channel to channel, almost as if he was more a part of a tv cloud than any particular show. I think the reason his ghostly image imprinted itself on my memory was it brought on the first inkling of pathos for someone I didn't know, someone who seemed oddly stuck in a box.
I certainly couldn't understood what exactly made him famous. A matte of repeating soup cans? Please. It didn't occur to me it was his own insatiable need to be famous that made him interesting, if in a morbid 'car-wreck' kind of way. I didn't see then what I see now in that his genius was exposing the ordinary as artistic expression. His ticket may have been the Campbell soup cans, but his resonance was a result of tapping into every one's desire to be noticed, especially the ordinary people. It made him an excellent commercial illustrator, but an even better self-promoter.
It's like those modern art exhibits where the 'artist' takes a 10 foot by 10 foot canvas and drew a line down the middle. 'Any idiot can do that' is the natural reaction. It took me a while to realize that yes, any idiot can do the line, but how many people can rationalize it, promote it and sell it? That line down the middle of the paper is an in-your-face 'I can draw a line and call it art and you can't'.
Your 15 Minutes
What would you sacrifice for that 15 minutes of fame? A few minutes a day away from the family writing your blog? A few strands of your dignity when you post a video on YouTube? Do you want to create art, sell something or just record your existence?
Down the road a few years when my daughters take a sick day from school, will you be their ghostly apparition?
And would that be OK?