Andy Warhol Biography
original name Andrew Warhola
( 1928 – 1987 )
August 6, 1928, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.–died February
22, 1987, New York, New York) American artist and filmmaker, an initiator
and leading exponent of the Pop art movement of the 1960s whose mass-produced
art apotheosized the supposed banality of the commercial culture of
the United States. An adroit self-publicist, he projected a concept
of the artist as an impersonal, even vacuous, figure who is nevertheless
a successful celebrity, businessman, and social climber.
son of Czechoslovak immigrants, Warhol graduated from the Carnegie
Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh, with a degree in pictorial design
in 1949. He then went to New York City, where he worked as a commercial
illustrator for about a decade. Warhol began painting in the late
1950s and received sudden notoriety in 1962, when he exhibited paintings
of Campbell's soup cans, Coca-Cola bottles, and wooden replicas of
Brillo soap pad boxes. By 1963 he was mass-producing these purposely
banal images of consumer goods by means of photographic silk screen
prints, and he then began printing endless variations of portraits
of celebrities in garish colours. The silk screen technique was ideally
suited to Warhol, for the repeated image was reduced to an insipid
and dehumanized cultural icon that reflected both the supposed emptiness
of American material culture and the artist's emotional noninvolvement
with the practice of his art. Warhol's work placed him in the forefront
of the emerging Pop art movement in America.
the 1960s progressed, Warhol devoted more of his energy to filmmaking.
Usually classed as underground films, such motion pictures of his
as The Chelsea Girls (1966), Eat (1963), My Hustler (1965), and Blue
Movie (1969) are known for their inventive eroticism, plotless boredom,
and inordinate length (up to 25 hours). In 1968 Warhol was shot and
nearly killed by one of his would-be followers, a member of his assemblage
of underground film and rock music stars, assorted hangers-on, and
social curiosities. Warhol had by this time become a well-known fixture
on the fashion and avant-garde art scene and was an influential celebrity
in his own right. Throughout the 1970s and until his death he continued
to produce prints depicting political and Hollywood celebrities, and
he involved himself in a wide range of advertising illustrations and
other commercial art projects. His The Philosophy of Andy Warhol,
published in 1975, was followed by Portraits of the Seventies (1979)
and Andy Warhol's Exposures (1979).
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