Wading through the reviews and extracts of Blake Gopnik’s eagerly anticipated Andy Warhol biography at the weekend, I began to suspect that Waldemar Januszczak of the London Sunday Times may just have the measure of this exhaustive work. “For all its weight and length,” Januszczak wrote, “Warhol: A Life As Art (Allen Lane) feels a tad premature. The next Warhol biographer hasn’t a hope of bringing more detail to the task, that’s been done. What they might bring is a truer perspective.” 

Interesting point. Gopnik’s book is certainly stuffed with detail. It is a book that, like the giant multi-volume biographies of Picasso, Matisse, Cézanne and any number of other artists, progresses in a painstakingly forensic manner, year by year, period by period, piece by piece. Along the way, Warhol’s reputation, or at least the one he studiously cultivated, is systematically demolished. Perhaps the greatest fabrication to have emerged from the vague fog of the Warhol mythology concerns the...

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