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"The Andy Monument" Enjoys Its 15 Minutes.



Chrome is the new bronze.

That’s one of the main lessons of “The Andy Monument,” a glistening semi-accurate sculpture of the Pop artist Andy Warhol.

It was unveiled Thursday on the northwest corner of Union Square, amid a small throng that included two surviving Warhol superstars (Taylor Meade and Ultra Violet), friends and colleagues of the artist, art world press and curious passers-by.

The slightly larger than life-size chrome-plated sculpture by the artist and Warhol aficionado Rob Pruitt stands on a cast concrete pedestal on Broadway, in a pedestrian area where vehicular traffic once turned left onto 17th Street. 

Sponsored by the Public Art Fund and on display through Oct. 2, it is located within sight of two of the buildings that formerly housed Warhol’s famous Factory, 33 Union Square West and 860 Broadway. The work’s quicksilver surface – far more mercurial than its unflappable subject ever was – catches the light, even at night. It is, implicitly, a superstar metal.



As usual Mr. Pruitt has tweaked, revived and redirected received ideas, joining Jeff Koons’s stainless steel casts of existing objects and sculptures (including a bust of Louis XIV) with the tired tradition of the public-hero monument. Warhol, the statue, joins an impressive roster of drabber bronze or stone denizens of Union Square — Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Mahatma Gandhi and the Virgin Mary — and portrait-wise is probably about as idealized.

Mr. Pruitt’s version of Warhol, which he devised on a computer, is young and beautiful with an uncharacteristically delicate nose and an unusually kempt fright wig. He resembles a taller version of Daniel Radcliffe’s Harry Potter, as well as the sleek preppy young men found in Warhol’s early drawings: the Andy that Andy, famously sensitive about his looks, would have liked to be. He wears the basic Warhol uniform of blazer, button-down shirt and rep tie with jeans and stylish oxfords. A Polaroid camera — impossibly bulky by today’s standards — hangs from his neck, and in his right hand he holds a Bloomingdale’s shopping bag, in which he usually carried copies of Interview, the celebrity magazine he founded in 1969.

Several people wondered aloud if there were any other statues of artists — especially 20th-century ones — in New York, but no one could think of any. And not surprisingly, no one could think of any artist more deserving — any who personified, and imbibed, so much of the city at its most glamorous. By the time the crowd started to disperse, several cans of Campbell’s Tomato soup had been left at his statue’s shining feet.

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Tags: 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, nostalgia
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