Media and art: A dialectical reflection on McLuhan and Warhol

Clayton J. Hester
4 min readApr 7, 2022
Andy Warhol and Marshall McLuhan: Photomontage by

Isn’t a title like “Media and art: A dialectical reflection on McLuhan and Warhol” a little too…. academic for a place like Medium?

Oh, certainly.

If it succeeds in garnering any attention, it could either be a fluke or a success in stretching the medium of Medium.

But let’s cut to the chase:

Marshall McLuhan and Andy Warhol are two of the most renowned and iconic thinkers/creators of the 20th century. While their work differed in many ways, they both had a profound impact on the way we think about communication and technology.

McLuhan was a media theorist who argued that the way we use technology shapes our thoughts and perceptions. He said that the electric age had changed the way we process information, and that TV, movies, and other forms of electronic communication were changing the way we think and interact with the world.

Warhol was a pop artist who used mass media images to create his art. He was one of the first artists to use commercial printing techniques to mass-produce his work, and he is best known for his prints of Campbell’s soup cans and other consumer products.

You might note that I lumped them together as “thinkers/creators.” Well, there’s good reason for that, despite those of you who are familiar with McLuhan wondering why I’d bring him up as a “creator.”

I own a collection called the “Essential McLuhan.” Let’s just say, in the print, things get real McLuhany, with out-of-control fonts and off-the-wall formatting.

You might also find his LP recording of “The Medium is the Massage.”

It’s a wild ride.

These disruptive interludes in media theory make one think of Warhol.

Warhol, of course, is known for translating the banality of print ads into art prints (to give one example).

Clayton J. Hester

Country boy. Explorer of the creative process & life, the arts, storytelling, innovation and history of ideas. Omnia in gloriam Dei facite —