“Andy Warhol Eats a Hamburger”

An interesting activity in in this class was the viewing of Jorgen Leth’s “Andy Warhol Eating a Hamburger.” Essentially, the film was just that; a recording of artist Andy Warhol eating a hamburger. Upon viewing this short, I observed many interesting behavioral traits Warhol exhibits while completing this task.

He eats the burger itself in a very strange manner; he first takes the bun apart and then dips it in ketchup, a rather unusual method.

He begins to eat it and only then stops to smell and examine the sandwich he’s eating.

He eats it very thoughtfully and never stops to put it down. While he seemingly ponders his actions carefully, he also eats rather ravenously, which is an interesting contrast to his expression.

Throughout the whole clip he appears rather upset and anxious. He doesn’t even finish the hamburger.

The whole thing makes for an interesting statement. Because of the prominent branding it almost functions as an advertisement, but his disposition makes it less apparent. People in commercials are generally jovial when enjoying a product, and the viewer is intended to project their expectations on the model in the ad. Warhol’s expression makes this difficult but I believe it still functions on some level.

I’ve included my notes from a preliminary viewing:

- Visible branding and logos, important component.
- Not like a typical advert… quiet, reserved, doesn’t look thrilled with the situation
- Is like an ad in that he is eating it and therefore supporting the product, regardless of motivation
- There is a full minute of footage after he discards the remnants; this section of the video showcases a wide range of reactions to the situation..

This video mirroring visual logic of advertising?

It does make the consumption of the burger itself out to be an unpleasant process after raising expectations of an advert-like scenario…

I’m not sure it can be thought of as entirely “anti-advertisement” because there are well known brands and logos featured prominently and by consuming the burger in the first place Warhol is doing something to support the existence of the product itself.

The filmmaker’s perception is certainly interesting, as Andy Warhol isn’t someone known for showcasing his burger-eating habits…

Knowing the context of the clip, I wouldn’t be apt to suggest to a foreigner that this clip of Andy Warhol eating a hamburger is a good representation of New York, much less America.

It’s interesting how displeased he looks with doing something often contributed to the American consumer, considering the implications of his art…