Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Degree

Spring 2016

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Art History

First Advisor

Craig Adcock

Abstract

Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable (EPI) was a drug-fueled rock concert-cum-multimedia art event where layers of mediation mixed with immediate experience: The Velvet Underground performed their innovative music in front of films of themselves performing, Factory Superstars danced and performed poetry, various Warhol films projected on the walls, flashing lights flickered on mirrored surfaces, and a crowd of spectators – both famous and unknown – packed in to see and be seen, to dance and trip into the early hours of the morning. The experience of the EPI was a potent combination of alienation, mediation, and commercialization.

The EPI was a promotional vehicle for Warhol, Warhol's Factory crew, and the Velvet Underground, but is also a complex example of spectacle that has been under-analyzed in recent scholarship. The EPI's unabashed emphasis on marketing, packaging, consumer goods, and empty celebrity are all manifestations of fears of late capitalist excess, but beneath the veneer of vapidity was an undercurrent of counterculture political activism and social awareness. Original contributions include cultural analysis, interpretation of contemporary reviews and reports, examination of the event's lack of art historical presence, and incorporation of music scholarship into the Warhol historical canon.

Public Abstract

Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable (EPI) was a drug-fueled rock concert-cum-multimedia art event where layers of mediation mixed with immediate experience: The Velvet Underground performed their innovative music in front of films of themselves performing, Factory Superstars danced and performed poetry, various Warhol films projected on the walls, flashing lights flickered on mirrored surfaces, and a crowd of spectators– both famous and unknown –packed in to see and be seen, to dance and trip into the early hours of the morning. The experience of the EPI was a potent combination of alienation, mediation, and commercialization. The EPI was a promotional vehicle for Warhol, Warhol’s Factory crew, and the Velvet Underground, but is also a complex example of spectacle that has been under-analyzed in recent scholarship.

The EPI’s unabashed emphasis on marketing, packaging, consumer goods, and empty celebrity are all manifestations of fears of late capitalist excess, but beneath the veneer of vapidity was an undercurrent of counterculture political activism and social awareness. Original contributions include cultural analysis, interpretation of contemporary reviews and reports, examination of the event’s lack of art historical presence, and incorporation of music scholarship into the Warhol historical canon.

Keywords

publicabstract, Andy Warhol, Exploding Plastic Inevitable, Music, Performance Art, Pop Art, Velvet Underground

Pages

xii, 245

Bibliography

171-180

Copyright

Copyright 2016 Alycia Faith Lentz

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