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Unless you're some sort of Warhol scholar, you really have to like Andy Warhol a heck of a lot to read all the way through the interviews collected in "I'll be Your Mirror." You practically have to be a Warcaholic to appreciate the Pop Master's technique of speaking volumes while ostensibly saying nothing...sometimes even when he really is saying nothing!
Warhol turned the interview into another display of his enigmatic aesthetic. What's interesting in this book isn't so much what Warhol says, but how he doesnt say it. His irony is so sharp that the interviewer is often seemingly unaware that he's even been cut--or delivered in so deadpan and naive a manner that either it's missed, misinterpreted it, or Warhol's interlocutor can't even be sure that he's been put-down or put-on.
I think a lot of people feel the same about Warhol's art...or, until relatively recently, a lot of people used to feel that way. Is this guy putting us on, or what?
Collected from a variety of sources, the interviews in "I'll Be Your Mirror" are uneven in quality, necessarily reprinted (and repeated) from other sources, and, because they are, in part, a Warholian performance, Warhol's answers are often redundant. In fact, there isnt a whole lot new here that a reader of Warhol's "The Philosophy of Andy Warhol" won't have already encountered. The fun, I suppose, comes in watching Warhol play his fey, fickle game of linquistic peek-a-boo, always giving away a little less than what he's ultimately getting: publicity.
Pretending, by turns, to be ignorant, inarticulate, indolent, and indecisve, Warhol often comes off sounding like both Beavis and Butthead with his ever-ready, all-purpose, one-size-fits-all grab bag of answers suitable for any occasion (or question) . One has to appreciate the skill involved in not-answering questions, in evading the obvious, the pretentious, the sycophantic, the frivolous and the invasive to derive any entertainment in listening to Warhol "Yes," "no," "I don't know," "gee," "really?" his way through a lifetime's gauntlet of interview after interview.
Of course, one must also remember that as "uncooperative" Warhol is in these interviews, they remain interviews; they aren't interrogations. Warhol agreed to be interviewed...sort of like a samurai accepts a challenge. From these encounters, Warhol emerges victorious, for the most part, you sense he hardly broke a sweat.
Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you're an evasive and elusive a character as I am than you'll surely appreciate the disappearing act that Warhol pulls off in these interviews...not just the act itself, but how he manages to do it. Although you have to keep your eyes open, you can hardly blink, because when you do, he's gone.
If you'd like to learn this neat trick, whether you're a world-renowned artist or not, a socialite hobnobber or a grocery clerk, a celebrity trendsetter or a reclusive crank, you can hardly do better than study Warhol's performance in the book. For the rest of what makes Warhol important, you're better off going somewhere else.