The Warhol Community

In comparing the legacies of artist Andy Warhol and urban thinker Jane Jacobs, this essay suggests that the sort of urban community we think of today is more a result of Warhol.

Though, as author Timothy Mennel explains, the modern city is a hybrid of both Warhol's and Jacobs' scenes and senses of community.

"Warhol's world might not be the model for what planners today consider a vibrant and lasting and productive community; but it has been a significant influence on New York's visual and financial economies, and understanding this world is important to understanding the nature of urban community today. Indeed, given the influence of New York, the power of this concept extends beyond the framework of what defines an urban community to include the more general question of what we now mean by community at all.

Lots of strivers and misfits, self-styled and otherwise, arrive in the big city every year, and not all of them are searching for what Jane Jacobs wanted to find or to create there - not all are hoping to find what amount to small-town values in the big city. Andy Warhol went to New York to get out of the social backwater of Pittsburgh and to re-create himself by his own lights and by the lights of fame. Andy Warhol became a modern urban creature - a mirror and a product of the speculative capitalism that fuels the art and finance worlds that have thrived in New York as nowhere else in America - in a way that Jane Jacobs never did."

Full Story: Jane Jacobs, Andy Warhol, and the Kind of Problem a Community Is

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