Art: Man for the Machine

It is an immigrant's face. In times past, thousands like it—high cheekbones, timid eyes poked like currants into a doughy Slavic mask, pale from weeks in steerage—streamed through Ellis Island. Add shades, a black jacket and dyed silver hair and you have America's perverse Huck Finn, son of Mrs. Julia Warhola from Mikova, Czechoslovakia—a face that, after Picasso's monkey visage, is perhaps the most instantly recognizable in art today.

The man's popularity is bizarre; his work, in one sense, is not popular at all. You cannot go into a department store and buy...

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