Rachel Dry -- What Would Andy Warhol Think of the Internet?

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By Rachel Dry
Sunday, August 16, 2009

The universe of notoriety is bigger than it was when Andy Warhol proclaimed: "In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes."

He uttered that phrase in 1968 and revised it himself almost as many times as it has been repurposed for him.

Today, though, 15 minutes no longer feels temporary. On the Internet, 15 minutes is a long time.

Too long to watch a video of a guy dressed as a beloved '80s science fiction hero. Too long to stare at a doctored photo of a cat. Probably too long to spend reading a particularly forcefully argued diary entry on Daily Kos.

When Warhol was musing on the fleeting nature of fame, Markos Moulitsas wasn't even born yet.

Today, Kos, as the liberal blogging pioneer is known, presides over a giant community of liberal activists and power brokers. The annual convention that brings them together, Netroots Nation, is taking place this weekend in Pittsburgh, a city chosen for its strong union roots and its eco-friendly convention center. Not officially, unofficially or probably even incidentally because it happens to be Warhol's home town.

But that doesn't mean the pop artist isn't in on the fun. The Warhol museum was the site of several parties, including one held by MoveOn.org Friday. Organizers liked the fact that the year after artist Shepard Fairey's portrait of Barack Obama reached iconic status, they could gather at a place that honors "the unique contribution arts make in national change," according to MoveOn's Ilyse Hogue.

So the Netrooters, this political force to be reckoned with -- Bill Clinton keynoted the convention, and White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett also spoke -- that was created, nurtured and made famous on the Internet, is on Warhol's turf. It's an appealing collision: The Web comes to the Pope of Pop.

It's reason enough, anyway, to call up a few people who knew the artist well and ask what he might have thought of the Internet.

He'd love it.

He wouldn't get it.

He predicted it all.


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