“Andy Warhol is like the Beatles,” a family friend said to me. “It doesn’t matter whether you like them or not.” They are such large presences on the cultural landscape that they seem impervious to criticism. We were strolling through the sprawling exhibit “Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again” at the Whitney Museum of American Art, open until March 31. Warhol, like the Beatles, was a cultural phenomenon, omnipresent in his place in time, and he still manages to hold unwavering relevance 31 years after his death. Time itself has much to do with not only his art but his posthumous popularity, considering our continuing interest in the raucous ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s—decades he ruled over with mystifying endurance and celebrity. The Whitney provides a startling abundance of his work, but its younger visitors will learn little about the man or his life. Warhol is turning mythic.
It’s ridiculous that Richard Brookhiser hasn’t received more acclaim for work on the Founding Fathers. Oh, he’s received plenty. The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, for example, have both recently reviewed his latest book, John Marshall: The Man Who Made the Supreme Court. He has authored PBS biographies on the Founders, appeared on countless radio shows, and contributed to dozens of panel discussions of the early republic. But none of it seems enough. In 1996, Brookhiser published a volume on George Washington, and in the years since, he has made the Founding era his own.