An Artist Who Makes You Scream


Minsheng Lecture



Zhang Jian

Andy Warhol and His Time

Guest: Zhang Jian
Co-Hosts: Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum, U.S. Consulate General Shanghai
me: March 27, 2021, 14:30-16:30
Venue: Multimedia Hall 1F, Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum (Xinyefang 3, Wenshui Road 210, Jing’an District)


.For the public health, the event requires real-name registration.
.Please bring your ID and wait in line at the admission.
.Before your entrance, you should get your temperature measured and register your information.
.Please wear a face mask the whole time during your visit. If you are experiencing a fever, cough, or short of breath, please understand that admission will not be granted.
.Please arrive 15 minutes before the start of the event.

Andy Warhol was one of the most controversial and the most eyecatching leading artists of Pop art movements in the USA. He was an commercial artist in his early years before he ventured into a wide variety of art forms, including painting, installations, filmmaking, photography, fashion design, and writing. After he became famous, he also became popular in both art and fashion, shining bright as if he had been a movie star. Later in New York City he opened his own art studio known as “The Factory,” which was opened to the public. The Factory quickly became one of New York City's premier cultural hotspots, a scene of lavish parties attended by the city's wealthiest socialites and celebrities, while Andy Warhol became the center of the focus. In 1965, his first retrospective exhibition was held in Philadelphia. Audience flocked to the exhibition, but mostly out of curiosity about Andy Warhol, rather than his works.

As a brilliaht commercial artist, Andy Warhol lived and worked within the time of consummerism and developed commercial society with ease. Unlike Vincent van Gogh and Gauguin who burned their inner passion for artistic creation, Andy Warhol dived into the radiant images of popular culture. From his perspective, those mass produced, easily replicated, profoundly superficial popular images had overtaken the public life, constructing an intoxicating representation that had been widely mistaken as real. However, what hid beneath the glamorous visual images was the unbending law of capitalist relations of production, or as Gay Debord said, images have become the ultimate commodity-form, which was self-evident in Andy Warhol’s works.

“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.”

Andy Warhol’s status as an artist had changed greatly after he blurred the lines between fine art and mainstream aesthetics, while the public’s knowledge of art had also changed. Born in UK and peaked in the US, Pop Art’s development was closely related to historical context, the booming of commodity, and the revolution of technology. With the rise of mass media, Pop Art became a vital art form of the 20th century. In this lecture, Zhang Jian is going to analyze how Andy Warhol and Pop Art has influenced the world within such historical context.

About the guest

Zhang Jian

Professor of Art History from China Academy of Art. Doctoral Advisor. China 2013-2014 Fulbright Scholar. Chief Librarian and Director of Library of China Academy of Art. Director of the Contemporary Fine Art Archive Centre, China Academy of Art.
Zhang Jian has been dedicated to researching and translating the thesis on forms, styles, and expressionism in history of Western fine art. In recent years, he also started to research about cases and issues about the forms and styles of Western modern art, as well as the methodology of studying history of Chinese fine art.


a) Books Published
Life in Vision, China Academy of Art Press, 2004
History of Western Modern Art, Shanghai People's Fine Arts Publishing House, 2009
An Alternative Story: Expressionism in Western Modern Art Historiography, Peking University Press, 2018

b) Books Translated
Form in Gothic, by Wilhelm Worringer, Chinese Edition, China Academy of Art Press. 2002
The Italian and German Sense of Form, by Heinrich Wolfflin, Chinese Edition, Peking University Press, 2009
A Short Guide to Writing about Art, by Sylvan Barnet, Shanghai People's Fine Arts Publishing House, 2013

c) Books Edited

Master. Fine Art, 15 volumes by Jinan University Press, 2003
Art as Life/Art as Idea: Complementary Modernisms in China and the United States, a collection of essay resulted from an international academic conference by China Academy of Art Press, 2017
Catalogue of the Library of Prof.James Cahill for China Academy of Art, by China Academy of Art Press, 2018
Wang Zhongxiu Essay Collection, by China Academy of Art Press, 2019