Francesco Poli is an academic and well-known contemporary art specialist. His book provides an insight into the reasons and purposes of the most famous and controversial contemporary art works which are often hard to understand.
The author explains how important it is to make an effort and understand artists, as well as the years of research and considerations that are hidden behind a work which apparently has no sense. Therefore, when visiting a museum, it seems improper to say “I don’t understand a thing”. The volume includes approximately sixty works with a short biography of the artist, as well as some curiosities on the art work, such as the materials used, execution time, auction evaluation… Along these lines, the reader will understand why an urinal has changed the course of contemporary art, and why the background of an art work is needed to appreciate it. Franceso Poli explains how Andy Warhol could achieve an extraordinary magical effect in his Marilyn Monroe. Using the same photograph, Warhol made several silkscreen paintings, thus accomplishing not only a glamorous and suggestive portrait of the star, but also achieving what we could call her “absolute image” which turns out to be an icon par excellence. Warhol produced the first paintings in August 1962, just after the actress died. The feeling of emptiness and death she left behind acquire a singular strength, that of a funerary and at the same time metaphysical icon. A funerary icon because the painting is a visual ghost of a no longer existing body, and a metaphysical icon because it is a projection of the actress’s real image, faithful to the original, incorruptible and immortal, the modern symbol of the “femme fatale”.