Andy Warhol (August 6, 1928 February 22, 1987) was an American
artist associated with the definition of Pop Art. He was a painter, an
avant-garde filmmaker, a commercial illustrator, writer and celebrity.
He founded the magazine Interview.
Childhood and early career
Warhol was born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His parents,
Andrej (Andrew) Warhola (the surname was spelled Varchola in Europe, and
was modified after emigrating to America) and Ulja (Julia) Justyna Zavacka,
were working-class immigrants of Rusyn (Ruthenian) ethnicity from Mikova,
Austria-Hungary, which today is in northeast Slovakia. Despite stories
circulating about Warhol's father working in coal mines, Andrej Warhola
actually worked in construction in Pennsylvania, and the family lived
at 55 Beelen Street. The family was Byzantine Catholic.
In third grade, Warhol came down with St. Vitus' disease, which affects
the nervous system causing involuntary movements and is thought to be
a complication of scarlet fever. This disease led to a blotchiness in
pigmentation of his skin and, as an adult, he became somewhat of a hypochondriac,
developing a fear of hospitals and medical doctors. Because he was at
times bed-ridden as a child, he became an outcast among his school-mates
and bonded with his mother very strongly (Guiles, 1989). When in bed he
used to draw, listen to the radio and collect pictures of movie stars
around his bed. Looking back later, Warhol described the period of his
sickness as very important in the development of his personality and in
the forming of his skill-set and preferences.
Warhol showed an early artistic talent and studied commercial art at
Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. In 1949, he moved to New York
City and began a successful career in magazine illustration and advertising.
He became well-known mainly for his whimsical ink drawings of shoes done
in a loose, blotted style. These figured in some of his earliest showings
in New York at the Bodley Gallery.
During the 1960s, Warhol transformed himself from an advertising illustrator
into one of the most famous American artists of the day. In many ways,
Andy Warhol and his circle helped define the decade.
It was during the 1960s that Warhol began to make paintings of famous
American products such as Campbell's Soup Cans from the Campbell Soup
Company and Coca-Cola, as well as paintings of celebrities like Marilyn
Monroe, Troy Donahue, and Elizabeth Taylor. He founded "The Factory",
his studio, during these years, and gathered around himself a wide range
of artists, writers, musicians and underground celebrities. He switched
to silkscreen prints, which he produced serially, seeking not only to
make art of mass-produced items but to mass produce the art itself. In
declaring that he wanted to be "a machine", and in minimizing
the role of his own creative insight in the production of his work, Warhol
sparked a revolution in art - his work quickly became very controversial,
Warhol's work from this period revolves around American popular culture.
He painted dollar bills, celebrities, brand name products, and images
from newspaper clippings - many of the latter were iconic images from
headline stories of the decade (e.g. photographs of mushroom clouds, and
police dogs attacking civil rights protesters). His subjects were instantly
recognizable, and often had a mass appeal - this aspect interested him
most, and it unifies his paintings from this period. Take, for example,
Warhol's comments on the appeal of Coca-Cola:
What's great about this country is that America started the tradition
where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest.
You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President
drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke,
too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke
than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the
same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows
it, the bum knows it, and you know it.
The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: (From A to B and Back Again),
1975, ISBN 0-15-671720-4
This quote both expresses his affection for popular culture, and evidences
an ambiguity of perspective that cuts across nearly all of the artist's
statements about his own work.
New York's Museum of Modern Art hosted a Symposium on Pop Art in December
1962, during which artists like Warhol were attacked for "capitulating"
to consumerism. Critics were scandalized by Warhol's open embrace of market
culture. This symposium set the tone for Warhol's reception - though throughout
the decade it became more and more clear that there had been a profound
change in the culture of the art world, and that Warhol was at the center
of that shift.
As an advertisement illustrator in the 1950s Warhol used assistants to
increase his productivity. Collaboration would remain a defining (and
controversial) aspect of his working methods throughout his career - in
the 1960s, however, this was particularly true. One of the most important
collaborators during this period was Gerard Malanga. Malanga assisted
the artist with producing silkscreens, films, sculpture, and other works
at "The Factory", Warhol's aluminum foil-and-silver-paint lined
studio on 47th Street (later moved to Broadway). Other members of Warhol's
Factory crowd included Freddie Herko, Ondine, Ronald Tavel, Mary Woronov,
and Brigid Berlin (from whom he apparently got the idea to tape record
his phone conversations). During this decade, Warhol also groomed a retinue
of bohemian eccentrics upon whom he bestowed the designation "Superstars",
including Edie Sedgwick, Viva, and Ultra Violet. These people all participated
in the Factory films, and some, like Berlin, remained friends with Warhol
until his death. Important figures in the New York underground art/cinema
world (e.g. writer John Giorno, film-maker Jack Smith) also appear in
Warhol films of the 1960s, revealing Warhol's connections to a diverse
range of artistic scenes during this period. By the end of the decade
Andy Warhol was himself a celebrity, appearing frequently in newspapers
and magazines alongside Factory cohorts like Sedgwick.
Valerie Solanas, a marginal figure in the factory scene suffering from
paranoia, turned up at the studio on June 3, 1968, and shot Warhol and
Mario Amaya. Earlier that day Solanas had been turned away from the Factory
after asking for the return of a script she had given to Warhol. The script,
apparently, had been misplaced. Warhol was seriously wounded by the attack
- he was declared clinically dead at the hospital, and barely survived
(doctors cut open his chest and massaged his heart to help stimulate its
movement again). He suffered physical effects for the rest of his life
(he had to wear a corset, for example, to support his abdomen). The shooting
had a profound effect on Warhol's life and art. The Factory scene became
much more tightly controlled, and for many this event brought the "Factory
60s" to an end.
Solanas had previously founded a "group" (she was its only
member) called the "Society for Cutting Up Men" (S.C.U.M.) and
authored the scabrous S.C.U.M. Manifesto, a radical feminist attack on
patriarchy. She appears in the Warhol film "I, A Man". Over
the years, Solanas's manifesto has found something of a following. (The
philosopher Avital Ronnell wrote an introduction to a new edition of the
S.C.U.M. Manifesto, published by Verso Press in 2004.) Solanas was arrested
the day after the assault (coincidentally, the day that Robert F. Kennedy
was shot). By way of explanation, she said that "He had too much
control over my life."
Solanas had received the gun from David Horvitz, in exchange for a Warhol
painting of Bob Dylan that Solanas presumably had stolen from the trash.
The painting was abandoned by Warhol after an altercation with Dylan.
Compared to the success and scandal of Warhol's work in the 1960s, the
1970s would prove a much quieter decade. This period, however, saw Warhol
becoming more entrepreneurial. According to Bob Colacello, Warhol devoted
much of his time to rounding up new, rich patrons for portrait commissions
including Mick Jagger, Liza Minnelli, John Lennon, Diana Ross,
Brigitte Bardot, and Michael Jackson. He also founded, with Gerard Malanga,
Interview magazine, and published The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (1975).
In this book he presents his ideas on the nature of art: "Making
money is art, and working is art and good business is the best art."
Warhol used to socialize at Serendipity 3 and, later in the 70s, Studio
54, nightspots in New York City. He was generally regarded as quiet, shy,
and as a meticulous observer. Art critic Robert Hughes called him "the
white mole of Union Square".
Warhol had a re-emergence of critical and financial success in the 1980s,
partially due to his affiliation and friendships with a number of prolific
younger artists, who were dominating the "bull market" of '80s
New York art: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Julian Schnabel, David Salle and the
so-called Neo-Expressionists, as well as Francesco Clemente, Enzo Cucchi
and members of the Transavantguardia movement, which had become influential.
In 1985, Andy Warhol was selected as one of the Absolut Vodka artists,
and several of his paintings incorporating the Absolut Vodka bottle in
it were used in advertisements, bringing his art to the attention of a
Warhol also had an appreciation for intense Hollywood glamor. He once
said: "I love Los Angeles. I love Hollywood. They're so beautiful.
Everything's plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic."
Warhol is one of the first major American artists to be open about his
sexuality. Many people think of Warhol as "asexual" and merely
a "voyeur", but these notions have been debunked by biographers
(such as Victor Bockris), scholars (including Richard Meyer), and by Warhol's
own writing, in which he self-identifies as gay.
In Warhol's book about his life and career in the 1960s, Popism, the
artist recalls a conversation he had with the film maker Emile De Antonio
about the difficulty he had being accepted socially by the then-more-famous
(but closeted) gay artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. De Antonio
explained that Warhol was "too swish and that upsets them."
In response to this, Warhol writes, "There was nothing I could say
to that. It was all too true. So I decided I just wasn't going to care,
because those were all the things that I didn't want to change anyway,
that I didn't think I 'should' want to change ... Other people could change
their attitudes but not me".
Warhol regularly volunteered at homeless shelters in New York, particularly
during the busier times of the year, and described himself as a religious
person. Many of his later works contain almost-hidden religious themes
or subjects, and a body of religious-themed works was found posthumously
in his estate. Warhol also regularly attended mass during his life, and
the pastor of Warhol's church, Saint Vincent's, said that the artist went
there almost daily.
Warhol's brother has described the artist as "really religious,
but he didn't want people to know about that because [it was] private".
Despite the private nature of his faith, in Warhol's eulogy John Richardson
depicted it as devout: "To my certain knowledge, he was responsible
for at least one conversion. He took considerable pride in financing his
nephew's studies for the priesthood".
At the relatively young age of 58, Warhol died in New York City at 6:32
a.m. on 22 February 1987. According to news reports, he had been making
good recovery from a routine gallbladder surgery at New York Hospital
before dying in his sleep from a sudden heart attack. The hospital staff
had failed to adequately monitor his condition and overloaded him with
fluids after his operation, causing him to suffer from a fatal case of
water intoxication, which prompted Warhol's lawyers to sue the hospital
for negligence. Prior to his diagnosis and operation, Warhol delayed having
his recurring gallbladder problems checked, as he was afraid to enter
hospitals and see doctors.
Warhol is interred at St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cemetery
in Castle Shannon, a south suburb of Pittsburgh. Yoko Ono was among the
speakers at his memorial service at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Warhol had so many possessions that it took Sotheby's nine days to auction
his estate after his death; the auction grossed more than US$20 million.
His total estate was worth considerably more, in no small part due to
shrewd investments over the years.
Throughout his career, Warhol produced erotic photography and drawings
of male nudes. Many of his most famous works (portraits of Liza Minnelli,
Judy Garland, Elizabeth Taylor, and films like "My Hustler",
"Blow Job", and "Lonesome Cowboys") draw from gay
underground culture and/or openly explore the complexity of sexuality
and desire. Many of his films premiered in gay porn theaters. The first
works that he submitted to a gallery in the pursuit of a career as an
artist were homoerotic drawings of male nudes. They were rejected for
being too openly gay.
By the beginning of the 1960s, Warhol was a very successful commercial
illustrator. His detailed and elegant drawings for I. Miller shoes were
particularly popular. These illustrations consisted mainly of "blotted
ink" drawings (monoprints)a technique which he applied in much
of his early art. Although many artists of this period worked in commercial
art, most did so discreetly. Warhol was so successful, however, that his
profile as an illustrator seemed to undermine his efforts to be taken
seriously as an artist.
In the early 1960s Warhol tried to exhibit some of his drawings using
these techniques in a gallery, only to be turned down. He began to rethink
the relationship between his commercial work and the rest of his art.
Instead of treating these things as opposites, he merged them, and began
to take commercial and popular culture more explicitly as his topic.
Pop Art was an experimental form that several artists were independently
adopting; some of these pioneers, such as Roy Lichtenstein, would later
become synonymous with the movement. Warhol, who would become famous as
the "Pope of Pop", turned to this new style, where popular subjects
could be part of the artist's palette. His early paintings show images
taken from cartoons and advertisements, hand-painted with paint drips.
Those drips emulated the style of successful abstract expressionists (such
as Robert Rauschenberg). Eventually, Warhol pared his image vocabulary
down to the icon itselfto brand names, celebrities, dollar signsand
removed all traces of the artist's "hand" in the production
of his paintings.
To him, part of defining a niche was defining his subject matter. Cartoons
were already being used by Lichtenstein, typography by Jasper Johns, and
so on; Warhol wanted a distinguishing subject. His friends suggested he
should paint the things he loved the most. In his signature way of taking
things literally, for his first major exhibition he painted his famous
cans of Campbell's Soup, which he'd had for lunch for most of his life.
Warhol loved money, so he later painted money. He loved celebrities, so
he painted them as well.
From these beginnings he developed his later style and subjects. Instead
of working on a signature subject matter, as he started out to do, he
worked more and more on a signature style, slowly eliminating the hand-made
from the artistic process. Warhol frequently used silk-screening; his
later drawings were traced from slide projections. Warhol went from being
a painter to being a designer of paintings. At the height of his fame
as a painter, Warhol had several assistants who produced his silk-screen
multiples, following his directions to make different versions and variations.
Warhol produced both comic and serious works; his subject could be a
soup can or an electric chair. Warhol used the same techniquessilkscreens,
reproduced serially, and often painted with bright colorshether
he painted celebrities, everyday objects, or images of suicide, car crashes,
and disasters (as part of a 1962-1963 series called "Death and Disaster").
The "Death and Disaster" paintings (such as "Red Car Crash",
"Purple Jumping Man", "Orange Disaster") transform
personal tragedies into public spectacles, and signal the prominence of
images of disaster in the media, showing how the mass reproduction of
these images numbs the public.
The unifying element in Warhol's work is his deadpan Keatonesque styleartistically
and personally affectless. This was mirrored by Warhol's own demeanor,
as he often played "dumb" to the media, and refused to explain
his work. The artist was famous for having said that all you need to know
about him and his works is already there, "on the surface."
Before this blankness, the lack of signifiers of sincerity, the viewer
is tempted to read beyond the surface to try and discover what the 'real
Andy' thinks. Is Andy horrified by death or does he think it is funny?
Are his soup can paintings a cynical joke about the cheapness of mass
culture, or are they homages to the simple comforts of home? His refusal
to speak to how his work ought to be read made it all the more interestinghe
left its interpretation entirely up to his audience.
One might say that Warhol's work as a Pop Artist was always somewhat
conceptual. His series of do it yourself paintings and Rorschach blots
are intended as pop comments on art and what art could be. His cow wallpaper
(literally, wallpaper with a cow motif) and his oxidation paintings (canvases
prepared with copper paint that show oxidated urine stains) are also noteworthy
in this context. Equally noteworthy is the way these works -- and their
means of production -- mirrored the mores and atmosphere at Andy's New
York "Factory." Biographer Bob Colacello provides some details
on Andy's "piss paintings":
Victor... was Andy's ghost pisser on the Oxidations. He would come to
the Factory to urinate on canvases that had already been primed with copper-based
paint by Andy or Ronnie Cutrone, who was a second ghost pisser, much appreciated
by Andy, who said that the vitamin B that Ronnie took made a prettier
color when the acid in the urine turned the copper green. Did Andy ever
use his own urine? My diary shows that when he first began the series,
in December 1977, he did, and there were many others: boys who'd come
to lunch and drink too much wine, and find it funny or even flattering
to be asked to help Andy 'paint.' Andy always had a little extra bounce
in his walk as he led them to his studio...
One could say that these "piss paintings" could be seen as
a parody of Abstract Expressionism and Jackson Pollock (who was famous
for pouring paint all over his canvases, often directly from the can).
One could also find in them a reflection of some subsets of the gay underworld
of New York of that era, including fascination with and sexual focus on
urine and excretory matter in general. Demi-monde New York nightclubs
of that period include "The Toilet," a spot featuring public
urination acts (to include being doused by others, or drinking their urine)
and others of a similar nature, such as "The Anvil." Andy visited
these spots, although he was not recorded as a subject of undinistic practices,
but rather, as so often, as an observer. In any case, he was wholly familiar
with the undinistic, urologic, and other "watersports" practices
of the day.
Warhol worked across a wide range of media painting, photography,
drawing, and sculpture. In addition, he was a highly prolific filmmaker.
Between 1963 and 1968, he made more than sixty films. One of his most
famous films, Sleep (1963), monitors poet John Giorno sleeping for six
hours. The 41-minute film Blow Job (1963) is one continuous shot of the
face of DeVerne Bookwalter, receiving oral sex. Another, Empire (1964),
consists of eight hours of footage of the Empire State Building in New
York City at dusk.
Batman Dracula is a 1964 film that was produced and directed by Warhol,
without the permission of DC Comics. It was screened only at his art exhibits.
A fan of the Batman serials, Warhol's movie was an "homage"
to the series, and is considered the first appearance of a blatantly campy
Batman. No prints of the film are known to exist.
Warhol's 1965 film Vinyl is an adaptation of Anthony Burgess' popular
dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange. Others record improvised encounters
between Factory regulars such as Brigid Berlin, Viva, Edie Sedgwick, Candy
Darling, Holly Woodlawn, Ondine, Nico, and Jackie Curtis. Legendary underground
artist Jack Smith appears in the film Camp.
His most popular and critically successful film was Chelsea Girls (1966).
The film was highly innovative in that it consisted of two 16 mm films
being projected simultaneously, with two different stories being shown
in tandem. From the projection booth, the sound would be raised for one
film to elucidate that "story" while it was lowered for the
other. Then it would be the other film's turn to bask in the glory of
sound. The multiplication of images evoked Warhol's seminal silk-screen
works of the early 1960s. The influence of the film's split-screen, multi-narrative
style could be felt in such modern work as Mike Figgis' Timecode and,
however indirectly, the early seasons of 24.
Other important films include Bike Boy (1967-1968), My Hustler (1965)
and Lonesome Cowboys (1968), a raunchy pseudo-Western. These and other
titles document gay underground and camp culture, and continue to feature
prominently in scholarship about sexuality and art - see, for example,
Mathew Tinkom's Working Like a Homosexual (Duke University Press, 2002)
or Juan Suarez's Bike Boys, Drag Queens, and Superstars (Indiana University
Press, 1996). Blue Movie, a film in which Warhol superstar Viva makes
love and fools around in bed with a man for 33 minutes of the film's playing-time,
was Warhol's last film as director. The film was at the time scandalous
for its frank approach to a sexual encounter. For many years Viva refused
to allow it to be screened. It was publicly screened in New York in 2005
for the first time in over thirty years.
After his June 3, 1968 shooting, a reclusive Warhol relinquished his
personal involvement in filmmaking. His acolyte and assistant director,
Paul Morrissey, took over the film-making chores for the Factory collective,
steering Warhol-branded cinema towards more mainstream, narrative-based,
B-movie exploitation fare with Flesh, Trash, and Heat. All of these films,
including the later Andy Warhol's Dracula and Andy Warhol's Frankenstein,
were far more mainstream than anything Warhol as a director had attempted.
These latter "Warhol" films starred Joe Dallesandro, who was
more of a Morrissey star than a true Warhol superstar.
In order to facilitate the success of these Warhol-branded, Morrissey-directed
movies in the marketplace, all of Warhol's earlier avant-garde films were
removed from distribution and exhibition by 1972.
Another film, Bad, made significant impact as a "Warhol" film
yet was directed by Jed Johnson. Bad starred the infamous Carroll Baker
and a young Perry King.
The first volume of a catalogue raisonne for the Factory film archive,
edited by Callie Angell, was published in the spring of 2006.
Warhol adopted the band the Velvet Underground as one of his projects
in the 1960s, "producing" their first album The Velvet Underground
and Nico as well as providing the album art. His actual participation
in the album's production amounted to simply paying for the studio time.
After the band's first album, Warhol and band leader Lou Reed started
to disagree more about the direction the band should take, and the contact
between them faded. On December 16, 2006 collector Warren Hill successfully
sold an acetate demo LP version, which he had retrieved on a flea market
for $0.75, on eBay for $25,200.
Warhol designed the cover art for The Rolling Stones albums Sticky Fingers
(1971) and Love You Live (1977). In 1975, Warhol was commissioned to do
several portraits of the band's frontman Mick Jagger.
In 1990 Reed recorded the album Songs for Drella (one of Warhol's nicknames
was Drella, a combination of Dracula and Cinderella) with fellow Velvet
Underground alumnus John Cale. On Drella, Reed apologizes and comes to
terms with his part in their conflict.
Warhol was also friendly with many musicians, including Bob Dylan and
John Lennon - he designed the cover to Lennon's 1986 posthumously released
Menlove Avenue. Warhol also appeared as a bartender in The Cars' music
video for their single "Hello Again," and Curiosity Killed The
Cat's video for their "Misfit" single (both videos, and others,
were produced by Warhol's video production company).
Warhol strongly influenced the new wave/punk rock band Devo, as well
as David Bowie - who recorded a song entitled "Andy Warhol"
for his 1971 Hunky Dory album.
Cover of copy no. 18 of 25 Cats Name (sic) Sam and One Blue Pussy by Andy
Warhol given in 1954 to Edgar de Evia and Robert Denning when the author
was a guest in their home in the Rhinelander Mansion.
Cover of copy no. 18 of 25 Cats Name (sic) Sam and One Blue Pussy by Andy
Warhol given in 1954 to Edgar de Evia and Robert Denning when the author
was a guest in their home in the Rhinelander Mansion.
Books and print
Beginning in the early 1950s Warhol produced several unbound portfolios
of his work.
The first of several bound self-published books by Warhol was 25 Cats
Name Sam and One Blue Pussy, printed in 1954 by Seymour Berlin on Artches
brand watermarked paper using his blotted line technique for the lithographs.
The original edition was limited to 190 numbered, hand colored copies,
using Dr. Martin's ink washes. Most of these were given by Warhol as gifts
to clients and friends. Copy #4, inscribed "Jerry" on the front
cover, was given to Geraldine Stutz, who at the time was with I. Miller
Shoes. Later the president of Henri Bendel and then while head of Panache
Press an imprint of Random House she used this copy for a facsimile printing
in 1987. Her estate consigned the original limited edition to Doyle New
York where it sold in May of 2006 for US $35,000.
Other self-published books by Warhol include:
* Gold Book
* Wild Raspberries
* Holy Cats
Later Warhol "wrote" several books that were commercially printed.
* A, a novel (1968, ISBN 0-8021-3553-6) is a literal transcription -
containing spelling errors and phonetically written background noise and
mumbling - of audio recordings of Ondine and several of Andy Warhol's
friends hanging out at the Factory, talking, going out.
* The Philosophy of Andy Warhol; from A to B and back again (1975, ISBN
0-15-671720-4) - according to Pat Hackett's introduction to The Andy Warhol
Diaries, Pat Hackett did the transcriptions and text for the book based
on daily phone conversations, sometimes (when Warhol was traveling) using
audio cassettes that Andy Warhol gave her. Said cassettes contained conversations
with Brigid Berlin (also known as Brigid Polk) and former Interview magazine
editor Bob Colacello.
* Popism: The Warhol Sixties (1980, ISBN 0-15-672960-1), authored by Warhol
and Pat Hackett is a retrospective view of the sixties and the role of
* The Andy Warhol Diaries (1989, ISBN 0-446-39138-7, edited by Pat Hackett)
is an edited diary that was dictated by Warhol to Hackett in daily phone
conversations. Warhol started keeping a diary to keep track of his expenses
after being audited, although it soon evolved to include his personal
and cultural observations.
Warhol created the fashion magazine Interview that is still published
today. The loopy title script on the cover is thought to be either his
own handwriting or that of his mother, Julia Warhola, who would often
do text work for his early commercial pieces.
As stated, although Andy Warhol is most known for his paintings and films,
he has authored works in many different media.
* Drawing: Warhol started his career drawing commercial illustrations
in "blotted-ink" style for warehouses and magazines. Most well
known are his pictures of shoes. Some of his drawings were published in
little booklets, like "Yum, Yum, Yum" (about food), "Ho,
Ho, Ho" (about Christmas) and (of course) "Shoes, Shoes, Shoes."
His most artistically acclaimed book of drawings is probably "The
Gold Book," compiled of sensitive, personal drawings of young men.
"The Gold Book" is thus dubbed because of the leaf-gold that
decorates the pages.
* Sculpture: Warhol's most famous sculpture is probably his "Brillo
Boxes," silkscreened wooden replicas of Brillo soap boxes. Other
famous works include the "Silver Floating Pillows"; gas-filled,
silver, pillow-shaped balloons that were floated out of the window during
* Audio: At one point Warhol carried a portable recorder with him wherever
he went, taping everything everybody said and did. He referred to this
device as his "wife." Some of these tapes were the basis for
his literary work. Another audio-work of Warhol's was his "Invisible
Sculpture," a presentation in which burglar alarms would go off when
entering the room. Warhol's cooperation with the musicians of The Velvet
Underground was driven by an expressed desire to become a music producer.
* Television: Andy Warhol dreamed of a television show that he wanted
to call "The Nothing Special," a special about his favorite
subject: Nothing. Later in his career he did create two cable television
shows, "Andy Warhol's TV" in 1982 and "Andy Warhol's Fifteen
Minutes" for MTV in 1986. Besides his own shows he regularly made
guest appearances in shows, including a notable appearance on "The
Love Boat" wherein a Midwestern wife (Marion Ross) fears Andy Warhol
will reveal to her husband (Tom Bosley) her secret past as a Warhol superstar
named Marina del Rey.
* Fashion: Warhol is quoted for having said: "I'd rather buy a dress
and put it up on the wall, than put a painting, wouldn't you?" One
of his most well-known Superstars, Edie Sedgwick, aspired to be a fashion
designer, and his good friend Halston was a famous one. Warhol's work
in fashion includes silkscreened dresses, a short sub-career as a catwalk-model
and books on fashion as well as paintings with fashion (shoes) as a subject.
* Performance Art: Warhol and his friends staged happenings; theatrical
multimedia presentations during parties, containing music, film, slide
projections and Gerard Malanga in an S&M outfit cracking a whip. The
Exploding Plastic Inevitable is the culmination of this area of his work.
* Photography: To produce his silkscreens, Warhol made photographs or
had them made by his friends and assistants. These pictures were mostly
taken with a specific model of Polaroid camera that Polaroid kept in production
especially for Warhol. This photographic approach to painting and his
snapshot method of taking pictures has had a great effect on artistic
photography. Warhol was an accomplished photographer, and took an enormous
amount of photographs of Factory visitors, friends - given the importance
of this medium to both his paintings and to film, one might say that an
interest in photography lies at the center of his artistic practice.
* Computer: Warhol used Amiga computers to generate digital art.
Producer and product
In many ways Warhol refined and expanded the idea of what it means to
be an artist. Warhol frequently took on the position of a producer, rather
than a creator - this is true not only of his work as a painter (he had
assistants do much of the work of producing his paintings), it is true
of his film-making and commercial enterprises as well. He liked to coin
an idea and then oversee or delegate its execution. As he refined this
element of his work The Factory evolved from an atelier into an office.
He became (and still is) the public face of a company, and a brand.
He founded the gossip magazine Interview, a stage for celebrities he
"endorsed" and a business staffed by his friends. He collaborated
with others on all of his books (some of which were written with Pat Hackett.)
He adopted the young painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, and the band The Velvet
Underground, presenting them to the public as his latest interest, and
collaborating with them. One might even say that he produced people (as
in the Warholian "Superstar" and the Warholian portrait). He
endorsed products, appeared in commercials, and made frequent celebrity
guest appearances on television shows and in films (he appeared in everything
from Love Boat to Saturday Night Live and the Richard Pryor movie, Dynamite
In this respect Warhol was a fan of "Art Business" and "Business
Art" - he, in fact, wrote about his interest in thinking about art
as business in The Philosophy of Andy Warhol from A to B and Back Again.
This was a radical new stance, as artists traditionally positioned themselves
against commercialism. Warhol and other pop-artists helped redefine the
artist's position as professional, commercial, and popular. He did this
using methods, imagery and talents that were (or at least seemed to be)
available to everyone. Perhaps that has been the most meaningful result
of (his) Pop Art: a philosophical and practical incorporation of art into
popular culture and society, and art offered to us as a product of that
The Andy Warhol Museum is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is
the largest American art museum dedicated to a single artist, holding
more than 12,000 works by the artist himself.
Among others, Andy's brother, John Warhol and the Warhol Foundation in
New York, established in 1992 the Warhol Family Museum of Modern Art in
the remote town of Medzilaborce, Slovakia. Andy's parents were born 15
kilometers away in the village of Mikova. The museum houses several originals
donated mainly by the Andy Warhol Foundation in New York and also personal
items donated by Warhol's relatives.
Andy Warhol. (2007, February 2). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
Retrieved 10:06, February 2, 2007, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Andy_Warhol&oldid=105026740
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