Whatever you feel,think, or say about Andy Warhol, it's probably true, and he would likely agree with you.
Design creates culture. There is already so much written about him, and yet the story seems to have no end...
If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There's nothing behind it."
Andy Warhol (August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987) was an American artist, film director, and producer who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art.
The youngest child of three, Andy was born on August 6, 1928, in the working-class neighborhood of Oakland, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Stricken at an early age with a rare neurological disorder, the young Andy Warhol found solace and escape in the form of popular celebrity magazines and DC comic books, imagery he would return to years later.
For Andy Warhol, New York was magical. During his first summer there, in 1949, he tried to interest magazine publishers in his work. Tina Fredericks, at Glamour magazine, liked Warhol's drawings but only needed drawings of shoes. Warhol returned the following day with 50 drawings of shoes. Tina used his drawings to illustrate an article called "Success Is a Job in New York" in the September issue of the magazine.
It did not take long for Warhol to become a successful commercial artist. He created advertisements for magazines such as Glamour and Vogue.
Though, toward the end of the 1950s he had begun to realize that he wanted to become a serious artist, not just a commercial artist
"Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art."
Simultaneously but separately, the two artists had the same idea of depicting commercial images on a very large scale.
In 1960-61 Warhol began to make paintings based on cartoon strips. He was unaware that another American artist, Roy Lichtenstein (b.l923), was also creating paintings from blown-up comic book illustrations.
Simultaneously but separately, the two artists had the same idea of depicting commercial images on a very large scale.
Andy Warhol, 1960
Roy Lichtenstein, 1963
Warhol felt frustrated. In 1961 he told his friend, the interior designer Muriel Latow, "I've got to do something that will have a lot of impact, that will be different from Lichtenstein. I don't know what to do!"
She asked, "What do you like most in the whole world?" and then told him, "Money. You should paint pictures of money ... Or paint something that everybody sees every day, that everybody recognizes... like a can of soup."
Warhol smiled. He had his inspiration. The very next morning he sent his mother out to buy one of the 32 varieties of Campbell's soup.
The reason I'm painting this way is because I want to be a machine. I tried doing them by hand, but I find it easier to use a screen. This way, I don't have to work on my objects at all. One of my assistants or anyone else, for that matter, can reproduce the design as well as I could."
By 1963 Warhol's townhouse studio had become cluttered and impossible to work in. In June he moved his studio to East 87th Street and employed a young poet, Gerard Malanga, as his assistant. The following year he moved again, to 231 East 47th Street. Here his rented loft became both home and workshop for an enthusiastic group of helpers. The people working with Warhol included artists, poets, students, and filmmakers. They all exchanged ideas, creating an exciting and fertile atmosphere in which to work. A number of people were responsible for the printing and often carried out every stage of producing works to Warhol's designs. The loft soon became known as the Factory.
The Factory was very fashionable among young people. It gained a reputation for weird "happenings," wild parties, and the bad behavior of its guests. As a result, the Factory became a meeting place for many different people who wanted to be part of the hip social and creative scene. Celebrities mixed with poets, models with academics, photographers with musicians.
A sort of glamorous clubhouse with everyone trying to attract Andy's attention. The big question was, whom Andy would notice."
Fienry Geldzahler, Warhol's friend
"Silver was the future, it was spacy – the astronauts wore silver suits… And silver was also the past, the Silver Screen – Hollywood actresses photographed in silver sets. And maybe more than anything, silver was narcissism – mirrors were backed with silver."
Ben Kelly
It was well known that Warhol almost inseparable from his camera. He ended up with numerous collections of photographs of people he took throughout his life. And we enumerated only some of the people that have found a way to his paintings via photography.
"We end up knowing everything and nothing. So it is that artists' self-portraits, whether intended as a disclosure or as concealment, remain as fictional as their other work … Andy Warhol's self-portraits constantly shift back and forth between telling us all and telling us nothing about the artist, who can seem, even in the same work, both vulnerable and invulnerable, both superficial and profound."
Christiana SC Spens
Warhol was aware of the absurdity of celebrity, of Hollywood and Western society, proven by his own place in it.
He was both the prima donna and Pierrot of Pop Art, tragi-comic in essence.
Only through his ability to ridicule the art world – by selling repetitions of soup cans and portraits of his masks, by avoiding the gaze of the viewer, by sending an actor incognito to lectures in place of himself and by giving monotonous 'yes', 'no' and 'I hadn't really thought about it' answers in interviews – could he gain liberation from the masquerade in which he was trapped.
Only by acting like a clown could he be an artist.
He was only 58 years old.
On February 22, 1987, Andy Warhol embarrassed all his friends by dying unexpectedly at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center following surgery for a routine gallbladder operation.
Warhol once said that dying was the most embarrassing thing one could do.
More than twenty years after his death, Andy Warhol remains one of the most influential figures in contemporary art and culture. Warhol's life and work inspire creative thinkers worldwide thanks to his enduring imagery, his artfully cultivated celebrity, and the ongoing research of dedicated scholars.