The fact that David Bowie plays Andy Warhol is, for me, the cherry on top. And it is, in my opinion, a very clever casting choice that simply cannot be a coincidence. Of course, Warhol and Bowie knew each other but there is more to it.
In Art, Rock and Andy Warhol, the author Van M. Cagle very lucidly explains the connections between the two artists and shows how they, as icons, played an important role in artistic as well as cultural developments: "Both artists selected and used 'raw materials' from a variety of popular sources, and in so doing, they transformed the contextual meanings commonly associated with those sources."
In many ways, and rightly so I think, the author draws parallels between the sexuality presented by both Warhol and Bowie in their "androgynous, non straight style and attitude." Of course, this was connected to the fact that Warhol more or less operated as a mentor for David Bowie. Cagle, too, states that "this style and attitude can be traced back to David Bowie's preoccupation with Warhol's Factory."
While Warhol and Bowie certainly weren't the first ones to publicly challenge gender perceptions and the way male sexuality is perceived, they are definitely the best known for it. Personally I think, that artists like Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga were/are highly influenced by Warhol's and Bowie's style and did/do a great job in carrying on the torch!
"(...) the combination of the banal, commercial content of Warhol's pop art with the underlying philosophy of the Factory (pop art as pop life) began to suggest a rather radical notion: The seeming simplicity of pop, the lack of commitment involved in creating it, its obvious anti-intellectual posturing - all of these elements simultaneously created the conditions for pop's 'devious' play on populism.
(...) pop art was democratizing in practice and theory ('everyone is an artist', 'you don't need an education to understand it.'). In addition, pop art ironically exposed the commodity nature of all art. But even more important, pop reserved the traditional role of contemplative viewer who ponders the intentionality of the artistic process. In essence, the viewer becomes the 'artist of perception', no longer requiring the guidance of the art historian and the critic. A stark, reproduced image, such as a Coke bottle, could indeed lend itself to a number of 'personalized' interpretations."
"In the same way, one could speak of the transvestites of aesthetics, of whom Andy Warhol appears as the emblematic figure. Like Michael Jackson, Andy Warhol appears as a solitary mutant, a precursor of a perfect universal hybridizantion of art, of a new aesthetics after all aesthetics have dissappeared. Like Jackson, he was a perfectly artificial character, but he was also innocent and pure. He was an androgyne of the new generation, a sort of mystical prosthesis or artificial machine which delivered us from sex and aesthetics, thanks to its perfection. When Warhol said, 'all art works are beautiful, I don't have to choose - all the contemporary works are equal,' he took the position of the agnostic, the one who believes in God without believing in him, without believing that he believes in him." --- Jean Baudrillard, Transpolitics, Transsexuality, Transaesthetics
would like to put forward the notion that Andy Warhol be removed from
his list of artists that he views as flashes in the pan. Quite simply,
Warhol changed the visual vocabulary of the United States, and by
extension the world, through his radical departure from preconceived
notions of what art is, how it functions, and, yes, ultimately how it is
sold, traded and collected.
celebrating the mundane and by doing so across all media, Warhol laid
the foundations for (love them or hate them) contemporary visual
culture, reality TV and nearly all contemporary art production today.
Not bad for a kid from a poor family here in Pittsburgh, where an
entire museum dedicated to him resides. Oh, and one last thing: Warhol
based nearly everything he did on art history and the great artists who
came before him. He rethought and refigured the overarching tenets of
art history to quite literally change the way we understand the world
around us, and for that he is well embedded in the annals of art
history, where he so firmly belongs."
ERIC SHINER Director, The Andy Warhol Museum Pittsburgh, Jan. 2, 2013
"Andy Warhol does not belong to any avant-garde or utopia. He settles his accounts with utopia because contrary to other artists who keep comfortably deferring the idea, he enters directly into the heart of utopia, into the heart of nowhere. He identified himself with this nowhere, he was this nowhere place that is the very definition of utopia. He managed to move through the space of avant-garde and reach the place it was striving to occupy: nowhere." --- Jean Baudrillard, The Conspiracy of Art
"The art through which Warhol achieved historical importance was internally connected with his candidacy as an American icon. He was able to achieve iconic status because of the content of his art, which drew directly from, and which indeed celebrated, the form of life lived by Americans, including what Americans ate, and who Americans considered icons in their own right, mainly figures from mass culture, like movies and poular culture. In a way, Warhol transcended his chosen subjects in the eyes of the world." --- Arthur Danto, Andy Warhol