They say heaven is like T.V.
(a perfect little world that doesn’t need you)…

_Strange Angels/ Laurie Anderson

For this eight-class seminar, coordinated by writer and artist Pilar Villela, we have invited specialists from different fields to discuss some of the issues raised by Andy Warhol’s body of work. Though Warhol’s work is associated with vibrantly colored silkscreens and can be considered a mere celebration of mid-twentieth century consumerist culture, his legacy has many other enduring aspects.

His references to death, for instance, reveal the dark side of the cult of celebrity and hint at the inception of a new brand of artist, who, in many ways, presaged forms of symbolic production that have acquired ever-greater relevance with the passing of time.

Rather than present an analysis of Warhol’s work, this seminar intends to use it as the point of departure to talk about the relationship between image and death; how the technological has superseded the human in the contemporary imaginary; forms of subjectivity fostered by social networks; the public and the private in contemporary visual culture; and the association between music and image as a mediatic phenomenon, among other issues.

The seminar’s focus is not about interpreting Warhol’s practice as a critique of a certain state of affairs, nor do we want to postulate it as “visionary” by limiting ourselves to reviewing the way in which it anticipated specific formats (such as reality TV, selfies, the celebration of commerce and profit-making as “forms of art,” hoarding as a species of necrophilia, the inhuman aspect of hyper-consumption). Rather, we consider his figure as a kind of ominous comet that, by shedding light on the darkness of a world, foretells its doom.

And so, if we take the liberty of regarding Warhol as a dark star, we surmise that it was in the manner of an ill omen, like a heavenly body that foreshadows a coming disaster.

July 22
Pilar Villela

July 29
Warhol’s Context: The History of the United States in the Twentieth Century
Andreu Espasa

August 5
Death & Image
Paula Mues Orts

August 12
The Imaginary of Man Become Machine
Guillermo Núñez

August 19
Three-Chord Music: The Velvet Underground and the Crossovers Between Rock and Art
Rafael Villegas

August 26
Private Stories/Public Image: Personality as Practice in Moving Images
Ximena Cuevas

September 2
The Autonomy of the Image: Selfies, Memes & the Subject in Virtual Networks
Canek Zapata

September 9
Presentation of Final Essays & Conclusions
Pilar Villela

Pilar Villela (Mexico City, 1972)
Villela studied a BFA at the National School of Visual Arts (ENAP) of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and an MA in Aesthetics and Art Theory at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP) of the University of Middlesex, London. Villela has presented her work in solo and group shows in Mexico and abroad. She has written numerous articles about contemporary art and organized exhibitions and academic symposia, with a special focus on the relationship between art, dematerialization and economics. She has taught at various institutions such as the UNAM’s ENAP (now the Faculty of Art & Design, or FAD), the National School of Painting, Sculpture & Printmaking (ENPEG “La Esmeralda”), the Universidad Iberoamericana and the Centro de Diseño y Televisión. She has also worked for various cultural institutions such as the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, the MUCA Roma and Canal 22. She is a member of the Sistema Nacional de Creadores, having been a grant recipient from 2013 to 2016.