Recently an artistic movement has made use of the objects and images of mass culture. Comic strips, the publicity photographs of movie stars, and goods from supermarket shelves are now considered artistic subject matter. Insignificant, banal or even repulsive commonplace and everyday articles are assigned aesthetic values which transcend their original functions. Their visual significance is altered by such traditional methods as juxtaposition with other images or by as simple an artistic device as placing them on display in a way that heightens their effect.
Among these artists Andy Warhol is unique. Though he draws upon the same or similar sources, he considers his subjects already to be statements in themselves. His art consists of these images unaltered; they are merely isolated from their commonplace surroundings and presented as focal points for our attention.
Experience as a commercial artist has developed Warhol’s ability to define the most distinctive aspect of a product without distortion. He can invest a cliché with freshness and vigor simply by presenting it. His method of expression is usually based upon the advertising technique of repetition, the assumption that by saying a thing often enough it becomes true. Within the mind of the viewer, small visual repetitions become part of a larger impression, the old cliché that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
– Samuel Adams Green, Curator and ICA Director