A highly intelligent if slightly obsessive study of the brilliant if more-than-slightly obsessive phenomenon known as Andy Warhol, whose deadened pallid stare, like a god's dispensed and withdrew stardom from his now more-or-less abandoned crew of transvestites, hustlers and poor little rich girls whose peculiar combination of decadence and chic made them the center of the golden art world of the '60's. Koch's thesis about the endlessly evasive shoe-designer cum artist cum filmmaker is a plausibly Freudian, articulated one based on the connections between homoeroticism, voyeurism, narcissism, and death. Warhol becomes the heir of Baudelaire as well as Duchamps -- his embodiment of America's retreat from authenticity (""I think it would be terrific if everybody was alike""). This was the source of the mysterious fascination so many people felt for someone who pretended to be (and in a sense was) nothing more than his appearance -- the irony being that this apparent utter indifference to people was inextricably bound up with his being the Ultimate Superstar. This is an import if repetitive and oddly organized book by someone who knew his subject and obviously feels a large degree of ambivalence toward him. As well as a penchant for those admittedly deadly boring early films (Sleep, Empire, Kiss) that Koch believes to be the clearest expression of that strangely seductive, self-reflexive art that will be history's final criterion of the man's greatness when his extraordinary presence is no longer around to function as a mirror of our psyches.