It was with great sadness that I read George F. Will's assessment of Andy Warhol's life and career (Editorial Pages, Feb. 26) "Andy Warhol: Soup to Nuts." Certainly no artist living or dead is above criticism. However, the occasion of Warhol's death seems an inappropriate time to print such a complete dismissal of the work of a man who is considered by many to be one of the most important artists of his generation.
The irony is that Will has a complete understanding of Warhol's work and dismisses it anyway. It does make sense that a man of Will's conservative, elitist politics would dismiss not only Warhol but also an entire decade in which liberalism and democratic ideals were at their peaks. I am sure that Will considers art to be exclusively that which is aesthetically pleasing in a more traditional sense, and which can be understood only by the intellectual elite.
In discussing Warhol's work, Will belittles--as many have-- Warhol's paintings of soup cans and his lengthy films of buildings and people sleeping. The value of these works could be, and has been, endlessly debated. However, I find it hard to believe that Will can so easily deny the power of some of Warhol's portraits. I find them as moving as anything I have seen.
The most important aspect of any art is that it makes people think. Great art is that which leads to debate, discussion, learning and understanding. With the volumes that have been written and spoken about Warhol's work, both positive and negative, I do not find it so easy to dismiss him as a passing fad. Look again, Mr. Will.
STEVEN H. SHANE