Left to right: Wayne Gonzales, Nina Chanel Abney, Mickalene Thomas, Devan Shimoyama, Julia Wachtel. (Not pictured: Glenn Ligon and Yasumasa Morimura.) Photo: Daniel Dorsa for The New York Times.
Three decades after Andy Warhol's death, he remains one of America's most provocative artists. His influence on popular culture is so pervasive that each emerging art movement after him has had to grapple with Warhol's focus on surface perfections and his singular celebrity. Despite their complicated feelings, many contemporary artists say they continue to admire Warhol's radical experimentation in all media and reach back to him as an unflagging inspiration, citing his practice of fusing photography and painting, as well as his presentations of race, gender, religion and desire.
We asked an intergenerational group of artists at the forefront of painting, photography, video, installation and sculpture to gauge the impact of Warhol's influence on their work. They include Yasumasa Morimura, who spoke of learning from Warhol the relationship between handicraft and mass production. Glenn Ligon, for his part, praised the Pop master's use of color, saying it helped him illuminate the hard realities of race in paintings based on Richard Pryor's scabrous stand-up comedy.
'Much of my work had been in black and white,' Mr. Ligon recalled. But in the '90s, he recognized 'that the spoken word — Pryor's off color jokes — needed to be in color. I thought, 'What's my model for using color?' Andy Warhol.'