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Andy Warhol Cow Wallpaper: A “Moo-ving” Experience

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It was in 1966 at Leo Castelli’s Gallery in New York City that Andy Warhol’s “cow” made its debut. Unlike Warhol’s other iconic pop art images, which were framed pieces, the Andy Warhol “Cow” appeared in a series of repeated images on wallpaper. Not only was it a commentary on art’s place and mission according to Andy, but it also embodied the contrived, mechanical atmosphere of Warhol’s famed art studio, The Factory.

Art for Everyone
As illustrated in his cow wallpaper, as well as in his infamous works depicting Campbell’s Soup cans and Brillo pads, Andy Warhol believed that art was intrinsically intertwined with commerce. However, the general view was that art was an elevated notion, that few could create it. Furthermore, it seemed that the art world was only open to the cultured elite who could understand and appreciate it. Warhol’s work was perhaps intended to take the exclusivity out of it. In his view, the mundane, ordinary object could be artfully displayed in a museum or gallery, and would undoubtedly convey something that anyone could understand and appreciate. It would relate to everyone. Warhol blurred the lines of what constituted art and brought it down to a less lofty level.

Andy Warhol has a Cow
The Andy Warhol cow wallpaper was brightly coloured, almost harsh to the eyes. The background was a garrish greenish-yellow and the cows were a hot pink. The combination of colors is strangely mesmerizing. If one thing is true about Warhol’s art, it is that his creations always made one stop and ponder the question, “Now, what do you suppose was the idea behind this?” The Andy Warhol cow wallpaper is no exception. It seems to be pure, whimsical manifestation, just like Andy Warhol himself. It seems to turn its nose up at conventional and traditional art.

Before Warhol introduced the world to pop art, he made his living as a commercial illustrator, a career that definitely influenced his work, and became apparent in his creations. For instance, the cow is not placed in any particular significant stance, nor does it display emotion or action; it does not signify anything more than what it is. One would expect to find a subtle sales-pitch in the background.

What is stunning about the Andy Warhol cow wallpaper, as with many of Warhol’s works, is its banality. The absolute lack of affect is really what ends up affecting the viewer. Warhol seems to inject his art with cynicism, pointing a finger at a media-saturated, product-bombarded society. This artist was not necessarily creating images to move, shock, or inspire the public, but was merely holding up a reflection of the collective frame of mind at that period of time.



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