More about Oxidation Painting (in 12 parts)

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We all know of the Andy Warhol who printed soup cans and Marylins, made ambiguous films of the entourage in his Factory and even the Warhol who, earlier in his life, made cutesy ink drawings of shoes.

But the Pop Prince is certainly not as well known for his Oxidation Paintings. A far cry from his more characteristic pieces, it was his first venture into abstraction. And though Warhol had probably not heard of the recently coined term “Dickstraction," he most righteously embodied it in his Oxidation series.

These monumental canvases that have painterly splashes of copper, rust, orange and green hues, are the result of Warhol’s invitation to various people to pee on canvases. This included his friend Victor Hugo, and his assistant Ronnie Cutrone, who was invested enough in this project to take extra Vitamin B in order to extend the chromatic range of his own piss. You can almost picture Andy standing back in his black turtleneck, large-framed glasses and drawling in his whimsical voice: “Wow…Yeah. I love that. Um. Yeah,” while close buddies go to it on his work surface.

But you've got to hand it to Andy, the oxidation of the urine does create a lovely, richly textured and aesthetically pleasing artwork. And these works have been rightly compared to the thick layers of drips and splatters we see on Jackson Pollock’s pieces. Pollock may have been considered manlier than your average male with his huge macho paintings, but Warhol physically employed man’s tender member and its by-product, making him the winning stud of abstraction!