Sunday, August 24, 2008

Warhol connections

I wrote elsewhere that:

The creation of imagined communities requires the manipulation of symbols which can express what the community holds in common in a condensed, easily understandable way. Lets look at one section of the magazine Rusin which I haven´t yet mentioned: "Klub Endi Varhola" after the main iconic figure within pop-art. Andy Warhols parents were both born in the Medzilaborce area of Slovakia, but emigrated to Pittsburgh before Andy was born. Andy grew up speaking ´po nashemo´ at home, but felt very uncomfortable with his ethnicity in public. According to one of his biographers (Colacello 1990:10-11), He refused to tell journalists anything about his background, saying only that "I come from nowhere". In a sense, his statement is true. There is still no state of ´Ruthenia´, and the ambiguity of ´po nashemo´ doesn´t nesessarily lead to group identification.

Since his death in 1987, however, Warhol has become appropriated as a key symbol in the ruthenian revival. Far from having connections to his ´roots´ severed, his figure now can be seen to be closely tied to romantic nationalism and folklore.

In subsequent years, there have been a number of films describing this phenomenon. One of them is Absolut Warhola, by the Slovak director Stanislav Mucha. You can view the trailer on YouTube:

Another film in the same genre is "The Warhol Nation", by Danish director Jakob Høgel and anthropologist Tom Trier,

And here is a video of Andy Warhol's nephew, Paul Warhola Jr., discussing life with his uncle during a seminar at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh PA. :

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