|Photo by: Wikipedia Creative Commons|
Aug. 6, 1928
|Died||Feb. 22, 1987 (at age 58)
New York City
|Education||Carnegie Mellon University|
Andy Warhol made Pop Art. His use of immediate culture in all his work is what brought him fame and glory. The Coke Bottles, Campbell’s Soup can, and other ordinary objects were made even more infamous by Warhol. He coined the expression “15 minutes of fame,” which is a popular phrase nowadays. Andy’s art transformed the 1950’s with his paintings, prints, and films, making it one of the most remembered art decades throughout the ages.
Andy Warhol’s parents were Russian immigrants who came to America. Their real last name was Warhola, but Andy shortened it when he became an artist. He was born on August 6, 1928 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and was the youngest of three brothers. His dad worked in a coal mine while his mom was a housewife.
In the grade, Andy was diagnosed with St. Vitus’ Dance, which is a disease in the nervous system. It causes extreme involuntary movements, and is thought to be a complication of Scarlet Fever. Andy was a hypochondriac, and had a fear of hospitals and doctors, so his mom kept him bed-ridden throughout his youth. He drew while confined to the bed, and studied at the School of Fine Arts at Carnegie Institute for Technology.
In 1949, Warhol moved to New York City, and was successful in magazine illustration and advertising. He was well known for his shoe ads. In the early 50’s, he was hired by RCA Records to design album covers. Over the years, he had done covers for The Rolling Stones, Liza Minnelli, and Velvet Underground. He especially associated himself with the Velvet Underground. He produced several of their albums, and coerced Nico, a German model to join the band. They eventually went their separate ways because of many heated arguments over where the future of the band should be directed.
Warhol held his first art exhibition on July 9, 1962 at the Fergus Gallery of Los Angeles, California. His works Marilyn Diptych, 100 Campbell’s Soup Cans, and 100 Coke Bottles debuted in that particular exhibition. The Marilyn Diptych is a compilation of pictures of Marilyn in various colors. 100 Campbell’s Soup Cans are sculptures, for 100 Soup Cans were stacked along shelves. The show began Pop Art in America. Everything in the exhibition became recognized by the public. With the growing publicity of his works, Warhol made everything bigger and more memorable. All the critics hated the show. They said that he “had an open embrace for the market culture.” Even though the public liked him, his worked was put down everywhere by art critics.
Sometime during 1963, Warhol produced his first film, Sleep. It filmed a girl sleeping for 15 minutes, but then it was slowed down so that it became a half hour movie. Other movies followed. The next year, he produced Blow Job, which showed the face of a man, DeVeren Bookwalter, getting a blow job for ten minutes by five different men. Most of his films were sexually based after this, and most of them homosexual, considering Warhol was gay himself.
On June 3, 1968, Warhol had an assassination-attempt at his life. A feminist, Valerie Solanas, shot him in the chest. He survived, but barely. Andy spent weeks in the hospital recuperating. Valerie was arrested immediately, and sentenced to prison. When asked why she did it, she said that she had been on the set for one of his films, and she thought she had been treated poorly.
During the 1970’s, Andy’s popularity increased, and he was getting more commissions for art than ever before. Only, instead of being for major art projects, they were for music. Mick Jagger, Liza Minnelli, and John Lennon became some of Andy’s new patrons, and he designed album covers for them all. In 1973, Warhol painted Mao Zedong, a 15 feet tall acrylic silk screen on canvas. With the increase of media coverage about the totalitarian government, Warhol felt
obligated to create art about it. The loose brush strokes make the work look like graffiti, rather than an actual work of art. People criticized him about supporting the Chinese government, and in response, he said, “Making money is art, and working is art, and good business is the best art.” Warhol made several copies of Mao Zedong, and sold them to different museums.
Andy spent most of his life living in Hollywood. Hollywood culture and its industries like filmography, many museums like the L.A.C.M.A., drew him to it. “I love L.A. I love Hollywood. They’re so beautiful. Everything’s plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic.”
Andy Warhol died on February 22, 1987 of Cardiac Arrhythmia. He was buried next to his mom and dad in New York. His required that the estate (valued at $20 million) be used to start the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, which was created later that year.