Ricard Dorment continues his campaign against the Warhol Authenticity Board in the pages of the New York Review of Books. The gist of his latest piece calls out the board to explain their denial of Joe Simon-Whelan’s Red Self Portrait in light of information from the discovery phase of the case which the foundation spent $7 million upon and thus overpowered the plaintiff.
Here Dorment identifies what he believes is the key feature in determining whether a Warhol is a Warhol:
Warhol’s procedure was to send a photograph or newspaper clipping to a lab where the image was transferred to an acetate plate. Warhol manipulated the acetate (sometimes called a “negative,” or, confusingly, a “film positive”) with chemicals and scissors to give it the distinctive Warhol “look.” Once he had the image he wanted, he used the acetate to imprint the image on a silk screen, which was then used to print the image on canvas. As his former employee Bob Colacello explained, the acetate was the most important element in Warhol’s creative process because “various steps in the process [of silk-screening] were done by hands other than Andy’s. But only Andy, in all the years I knew him, worked on the negatives,” i.e., acetates.
During the final step, when Warhol or his assistants transferred the image onto canvas, color was added in different ways—sometimes by using one or more silk screens; at other times by hand; and at still others by combining silk-screening and hand-painting. Because silk-screening is essentially a mechanical process, it hardly matters whether Warhol or his assistants actually pressed the paint through the screen’s mesh. Much more important was the way work was done on the acetate negative from which the print on the silk screen was made. This insight enabled Warhol to set up his famous factory-like method of art production.
What Andy Warhol Did (New York Review of Books)