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Meme-ing the Warhol Foundation: Ceci N’est Pas Un Warhol


(noun)1 : an idea, belief or belief system, or pattern of behavior that spreads throughout a culture either vertically by cultural inheritance (as by parents to children) or horizontally by cultural acquisition (as by peers, information media, and entertainment media)

2 : a pervasive thought or thought pattern that replicates itself via cultural means; a parasitic code, a virus of the mind especially contagious to children and the impressionable

Artist Charles Lutz is playing with the idea of authenticity in the post- Warhol Foundation series “Warhol Denied.”  The series features screen prints based on Warhol’s own screen prints with a replica of the Warhol Authentication Board’s DENIED stamp on the verso.  Lutz choose the most iconic of Warhol’s oeuvre, including Silver Liz, Jackie, Electric Chair and Five Deaths (Car Crash), and even the Red Self Portrait a la Joe Simon-Whelan.

Lutz’s paintings play with the idea of Warhol and authenticity in a new way.  Warhol himself, owner of the Factory studio, produced images for the commercial market- often fitting the market’s supplies and demands.  But these new images add another layer of art theory but making a profit from fake DENIED paintings.  In fact, the thought can make your head spin.

The mere idea of authenticity if being questioned and its foundations shaken- leaving galleryists and buyers to ask: Does it really matter?  In this age of techonological reproduction, even museums’ are cashing in with replicas of their famous works- marketing them not just as copies but as “authentic reproductions.”  The van Gogh Museum announced this week that they will begin selling 3D reproductions of van Gogh for $20,000.  The museum is advertising the works as exact replicas and using the newest technology of 3D scanning and printing.

This new age of “authenticity” also introduces the idea that the copyright to image reproduction is worth more than the actual painting.  This is what apprasers’ call…. but it is rarely used.

Where am I going with this?

Need tie to art law


Sources: “Meme” from Urban Dictionary;

Sale numbers for Lutz

This stirs the pot, and brings new questions of authenticity to an already complex realm.  As Warhol said: IF art is whatever you can get away with… do contemporary artists pull off the ultimate heist?