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Like Andy Warhol

Scholarly considerations of Andy Warhol abound, including very fine catalogues raisonné, notable biographies, and essays in various exhibition catalogues and anthologies. But nowhere is there an in-depth scholarly examination of Warhol’s oeuvre as a whole—until now.

Jonathan Flatley’s Like Andy Warhol is a revelatory look at the artist’s likeness-producing practices, not only reflected in his famous Campbell’s soup cans and Marilyn Monroe silkscreens but across Warhol’s whole range of interests including movies, drag queens, boredom, and his sprawling collections. Flatley shows us that Warhol’s art is an illustration of the artist’s own talent for “liking.” He argues that there is in Warhol’s productions a utopian impulse, an attempt to imagine new, queer forms of emotional attachment and affiliation, and to transform the world into a place where these forms find a new home. Like Andy Warhol is not just the best full-length critical study of Warhol in print, it is also an instant classic of queer theory.

288 pages | 12 color plates, 65 halftones | 7 x 10 | © 2017

Art: American Art

Culture Studies

Gay and Lesbian Studies

Gender and Sexuality

Philosophy: Aesthetics


“Jonathan Flatley's Like Andy Warhol presents a compelling alternative to the preconceived conception of Warhol as a cold, crass materialist making affirmative icons to bolster transcendent, glamorous, consumer identification. Flatley instead shows Warhol thinking through ways to approach and share in the feelings of loss, failure, and disidentification that the United States’s glossy consumerist iconography generates.”

Los Angeles Review of Books

“Offers an uncensored look at Warhol, emphasizing his identity as a gay man and his importance as a gay icon. Flatley includes extensive treatment of Warhol's risqué side and explorations of cultural taboos. . .Recommended.”


“Flatley’s Like Andy Warhol emerges from a rich and inventive essay on Warhol that he wrote for October, ‘Like: Collecting and Collectivity’.5 If you liked that, then you’ll like this. In its exploration of Warhol and the complex dynamics of liking, Like Andy Warhol extends Flatley’s longstanding interrogation of Warhol’s career and his interest in the operations of affect. Like Andy Warhol draws heavily on several previously published essays, but synthesizes these (with much new material) into an elaborate, erudite, and sophisticated whole. This is a major contribution to academic writing on Warhol, and will I suspect serve as a major touchstone and reference point for future work on the artist.”

Oxford Art Journal

“Ambitious and intriguing. . .Flatley offers a compelling argument against the commonplace understanding that Warhol’s art, “and machine-like use of repetition,” as a stance against being affected.”

The Gay and Lesbian Review

“An inventive and wholly persuasive reconsideration of Warhol, Like Andy Warhol is easy to read; it is also beautifully organized. In clear, jargon-free prose, the book follows ideas, not arguments. It draws on the strengths of queer theory, affect theory, social theory, and art history without getting bogged down in side battles, often the locus for disciplinary turf wars. Yet it is not reductive: it delivers the full complexity of its ideas without compromising accessibility. Flatley has written an exemplary book that will change people’s understanding not only of Warhol but of what interdisciplinary scholarship can do. It will attract readers interested in the 1960s and its influence on the political conditions of our own times, and will persuade anyone skeptical of the powerful effects art can have.”


“This is a brilliant, remarkably original study of Andy Warhol. Flatley will change—even reverse—the way in which both specialists and laypersons understand Warhol, his oft-noted repetitions, his seeming affectlessness, and his importance to late twentieth and twenty-first-century culture. Like Andy Warhol is not just the best full-length critical study of Andy Warhol in print. It is destined to become an instant classic of queer theory.”

Sianne Ngai, author of Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting

“Flatley takes Warhol’s promiscuous interests—his extraordinary ‘talent for liking things’—seriously as a utopian praxis. In doing so, Flatley shows how Warhol helps us see likeness across differences, whether those differences are between a gay man’s sense of his identity and what he desires—say, James Dean—or between the whiteness of Marilyn Monroe and the blackness of the African Americans who are attacked by racist police in the race riots. Like Andy Warhol is beautifully written, always clear and readable, and carefully, methodically argued. It is a groundbreaking book and a pleasure to read.”

Douglas Crimp, author of Before Pictures

“What I like most about Flatley’s book is that mostly, it isn’t just about great works of art, but rather misfits, rejects, and things that don’t fully belong–like Warhol’s favorite swimmer in the Esther Williams film who jumped at the wrong time. . . . Where Flatley succeeds in giving us a Warhol that we could use more of today.”

Social Text

“Across four chapters that examine different facets of Warhol’s practice—his extensive collecting, his desire to be a machine, his interest in boredom, and his paintings that meditate on race—Flatley takes seriously Warhol’s mission to like everything and everybody. In doing so, the author provides a monograph that it is not simply another study of the artist, but a breakthrough for theories of queerness and affect. For Flatley and Warhol, liking serves as a condition of possibility for living a life that is open to being affected in a world that actively discredits affect.”

ASAP Journal

Table of Contents

Introduction: Like

1          Collecting and Collectivity
2          Art Machine
3          Allegories of Boredom
4          Skin Problems


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