- Peter Wollen from Who is Andy Warhol?.
Warhol was a true renaissance man who became involved in anything that could even remotely be considered artistic, but one of the most astounding things about Warhol was not the sheer number and variety of projects he took on, but how he chose to display them. Warhol's displays broke down the three-foot barrier between art and its viewers erected by art museums. Warhols were often interactive, touchable, and arranged so that a patron couldn't avoid coming within inches of the art in an installation. Warhol used every part of a room, every inch of the wall, the floor, and sometimes even the ceiling. Not only did he bring art physically closer to the people though his art spaces and installations but Warhol also used popular mediums to promote his message, thereby expanding the entire concept of what constitutes art. Of these, his films and association with The Velvet Underground stick out as two of the most ground breaking.
His films rarely tried to tell a story. Mostly they observed the passage of time on an object or person from a number of different angles. Laying stills from many of his movies side by side would create an effect almost exactly like one of his exhibitions. Repetition, ruthless cuts and un-centered action were common like in his screen prints. Playing with the acceptable length and subject material of films Warhol pushed his audience to the brink. How many hours would they be able to take of the Empire State building before they walked out of the theatre in search of mental stimulation? Warhol showed film as what it was, a constant repetition of images rolling at so many frames per second.
He also explored his multimedia fetish of repetition in the realm of music with The Velvet Underground. Warhol identified with the music of The Velvets, something about it (Lou Reed thought it was the reality of the music) pleased him deeply enough to want to cross over and make a film about it. For Warhol there were simply no boundaries for artistic expression. He crossed over as much as possible showing the fluidity of conscious thought and the inability to separate images from reality. Without the display, the content lost much of its meaning and striking value. Warhol understood American lust for more better than any other 20th century artist and showed them what they wanted, their dreams, hungers, and fears, in such excess that the image itself became more than the concept behind it, desensitizing the public to content and opening up the world to postmodern concepts. As Warhol put the transition more simply, "I never read, I just look at pictures."