Jeanette Winterson on Warhol: The Look of Being Looked At

Nov 16, 2012 9:25PM

His famous line about being famous bored him. It was a throw-a-way that turned out to be a message in a bottle. Andy’s prediction/warning/fortune cookie for the future washed up on the shores of Facebook and the X-Factor, American Idol and Twitter. In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes. Tweet perfect.

The new generation is up-load. We exist by posting photos of ourselves on the Web. Anonymity is a temporary condition – where you are before your video goes viral. Celebrity is visibility. Visibility is celebrity.  The desire to be seen – not simply noticed or known – is so tangled up with contemporary ideas about identity that it is impossible to talk about identity as a private matter anymore.  That philosophical absurdity – Does a thing exist if no one is looking at it? – has a new answer: No.

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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019