Fragmented Cinema: Andy Warhol’s Reconstruction as Author

By Andrew Howe.

Published by The International Journal of Arts Theory and History

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In his analysis of American avant-garde film, Allegories of Cinema, David James titles his chapter on Andy Warhol “The Producer as Author.” He examines how Warhol, through his “Factory,” nurtured the mass production of art. James concludes that this assembly line approach erases Warhol from the piece of art as author, a claim that places the artist at the leading cusp of the postmodern tradition. Although this discussion of assembly line applies less to Warhol’s films than it does to his silkscreens and paintings, relevance can still be found, particularly, in his later films. Using Flesh (1968), Women in Revolt (1971), and Heat (1972) as primary texts, this paper will contend that Warhol, instead of erasing himself completely, actually enters into his own pieces of art, especially when his use of camp works to construct notions of sexuality and domesticity. I will argue that, instead of the author’s erasure, Warhol the author is fragmented, later pieced together as a gestalt image of “Warhol” which stands in for, even replaces the piece of art.

Keywords: Film Theory, Auteur Theory

The International Journal of Arts Theory and History, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp.1-7. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 521.204KB).

Dr. Andrew Howe

Associate Professor, Department of History, Politics, & Sociology, La Sierra University, Riverside, CA, USA

Andrew Howe is an Assistant Professor at La Sierra University, where he teaches cinema studies, popular culture studies, and twentieth century history in the Department of History, Politics, and Sociology.