“From A to B and Back Again” encompasses Warhol’s vast output through books, film, drawings, magazines, recordings, portraiture, and more. It could be an overwhelming experience were it not for the contextual roadmap provided by his earliest work from the 1950s. Overall, the show does answer the question of why Warhol is an important part of 21st-century discourse. The artist remains pertinent because, through his appetite for consumption and dissemination, he became the information, the culture, and the machinery that so fascinated him, and which everyone now increasingly trades in on a daily basis.
Warhol perceived, predicted, and promoted the collapsing into oneness of every aspect of American life—crime, commerce, stardom, technology, domesticity, trauma, and politics. He has been necessarily superseded by his descendants—reality television, social media—and their avatars: the Kardashians, YouTube personalities, even the current president of the United States. While the ancestry of this frenzied condition can be traced back to him, one wonders if Warhol would find the current state of his project gratifying.