November 19, 1993 at 05:00 AM EST

Andy Warhol Portraits

Current Status
In Season
Henry Geldzahler, Robert Rosenblum
Coffee Table
We gave it a C+

Time allows art to settle into its rightful place: As trends tire, extraordinary paintings prove that universal experiences remain unchanged, regardless of cultural era. Survival of the fittest is one way to put it, and Andy Warhol, sadly, just wasn’t fit enough. He took a risk — and made a fortune, not to mention a reputation — wryly commenting on the commercialism of the latter part of the 20th century. Soup cans became art; images of people became (literally) as replicable as soup cans. For a celebrity junkie, there’s some interest in the painted silk screens of Judy Garland, Debbie Harry, and Grace Jones. But his portraits in Andy Warhol Portraits suffer like old jokes. The problem lies in the work itself: Turning art into commerce is a fait accompli, and, truth is, it’s not that interesting anymore. C+

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