Andy Warhol : The Arts

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Warhol's other famous pop paintings depicted Coca-cola bottles, vacuum cleaners and hamburgers.

As these portraits gained fame and notoriety, Warhol began to receive hundreds of commissions for portraits from socialites and celebrities. In , Warhol opened his own art studio, a large silver-painted warehouse known simply as "The Factory. Warhol was a friend of Reed's and managed Reed's band, the Velvet Underground. Warhol, who clearly relished his celebrity, became a fixture at infamous New York City nightclubs like Studio 54 and Max's Kansas City. Commenting on celebrity fixation — his own and that of the public at large — Warhol observed, "more than anything people just want stars.


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In , however, Warhol's thriving career almost ended. Warhol was seriously wounded in this attack.


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  6. As a result of the injuries he sustained, he had to wear a surgical corset for the rest of his life. In the s, Warhol continued to explore other forms of media. Warhol also experimented extensively with video art, producing more than 60 films during his career. Some of his most famous films include Sleep , which depicts poet John Giorno sleeping for six hours, and Eat , which shows a man eating a mushroom for 45 minutes. His father, Ondrej Warhola, was a construction worker, while his mother, Julia Warhola, was an embroiderer.

    They were devout Byzantine Catholics who attended mass regularly, and maintained much of their Slovakian culture and heritage while living in one of Pittsburgh's Eastern European ethnic enclaves.

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    At the age of eight, Warhol contracted Chorea — also known as St. Vitus's Dance — a rare and sometimes fatal disease of the nervous system that left him bedridden for several months. It was during these months, while Warhol was sick in bed, that his mother, herself a skillful artist, gave him his first drawing lessons. Drawing soon became Warhol's favorite childhood pastime. He was also an avid fan of the movies, and when his mother bought him a camera at the age of nine, he took up photography as well, developing film in a makeshift darkroom he set up in their basement.

    In , at the age of 14, Warhol again suffered a tragedy when his father passed away from a jaundiced liver. Warhol was so upset that he could not attend his father's funeral, and he hid under his bed throughout the wake. Warhol's father had recognized his son's artistic talents, and in his will he dictated that his life savings go toward Warhol's college education. That same year, Warhol began at Schenley High School, and upon graduating, in , he enrolled at the Carnegie Institute for Technology now Carnegie Mellon University to study pictorial design.

    Warhol's enigmatic personal life has been the subject of much debate. He is widely believed to have been a gay man, and his art was often infused with homoerotic imagery and motifs. However, he claimed that he remained a virgin for his entire life.

    Andy Warhol’s Life

    Warhol's life and work simultaneously satirized and celebrated materiality and celebrity. On the one hand, his paintings of distorted brand images and celebrity faces could be read as a critique of what he viewed as a culture obsessed with money and celebrity. On the other hand, Warhol's focus on consumer goods and pop-culture icons, as well as his own taste for money and fame, suggest a life in celebration of the very aspects of American culture that his work criticized. Warhol spoke to this apparent contradiction between his life and work in his book The Philosophy of Andy Warhol , writing that "making money is art and working is art, and good business is the best art.

    We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us! Sign up for the Biography newsletter to receive stories about the people who shaped our world and the stories that shaped their lives. Warhol's themes were as expansive as his filmography, delving into more explicit areas such as homosexuality and gay culture, such as Blowjob , a continuous shot of DeVeren Bookwalter's face while he receives oral sex from filmmaker Willard Maas, and Lonesome Cowboys , a raunchy western.

    His films are widely recognized as Pop masterpieces, enshrined in film institutes and modern art archives accross the world. Often using gruesome and graphic images taken from daily newspapers, he would use the photo-silkscreening method to repeat them across the canvas. The repetition of the image, and its fragmentation and degradation, are important in creating the impact of the pictures, but also in sterilizing the image.

    To see the graphic photo once leaves the viewer distraught and shaken - but to see that photo reproduced over and over again as seen every day in the press undermines the image's power as the scene of horror becomes another mass-market image. There is an alternative way to view this and other works from Warhol's Death and Disaster series proposed by the Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight.

    Andy Warhol: Portraits | McNay Art Museum

    The car crash shown is very similar to the photo of the Long Island car crash where Jackson Pollock died in Warhol is reminding the viewers that Abstract Expressionism championed by Pollock is now dead. So maybe Warhol is not so much involved in popular art, but rather providing very specific and elite art world commentary. Similarly, Warhol's Electric Chair series has a "Silence" sign at the back of the depicted electrocution room, which Warhol connects to John Cage's modernist work with sound and Cage's book of essays.

    This time, his art pieces are stackable, they are sculptures that can be arranged in various ways in the gallery - yet each box is exactly the same, one is no better than another. Rather than the series of slightly different paintings that have been made by many famous artists think Monet's haystacks or cathedrals Warhol makes the point that these products are all the same and in his opinion they are beautiful! Making these items in his "factory" Warhol again makes fun of or brilliantly provokes the art world and the artist-creator.

    With Brillo Boxes , Warhol also has a personal connection.

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    Warhol was originally from Pittsburg - steel city, the commodity that made the city prosperous and later quite depressed. Brillo is steel wool, a product stereotypically used by housewives to keep cookware shining in their lovely American homes. Did Warhol like the product itself, think the store displays for the product ridiculous, or as a gay man, did he enjoy the contrast of steel and wool, in one friendly package? Warhol took the black and white image of Mao from his Little Red Book Mao's famous communist publication , and created hundreds of different sized canvases of the totalitarian ruler.

    Some of these paintings are as large as 15 feet x 10 feet, a scale evoking the dominating nature of Mao's rule over China and the awesome cult of personality Mao wielded. This monumental size also echoes the towering propagandistic representations that were being displayed throughout China during the Cultural Revolution. But by creating hundreds of such images, and lining them up on the wall, Warhol made the image of Mao into a supermarket product - like Coca-Cola bottles - lined up on the shelves and available in small, medium, and large.

    Warhol's Mao is now a consumer product, a basic building block of capitalism - or the very idea that communism is against. Warhol goes even further. The graffiti-like splashes of color, the red rouge and blue eye shadow, literally 'de-faces' Mao's image - an act of rebellion against the Communist propaganda machine by using its own heralded image against itself.

    Warhol uses modernist art devices such as expressionistic brushstrokes around Mao's face as a further pun: the brushstrokes are a sign of personal expression and artistic freedom - the very ideas that Mao's Cultural Revolution was against. Synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen ink on canvas - The Art Institute of Chicago. The result was a metallic sheen with a surprising depth of color and texture; a surface reminiscent of works by Abstract Expressionists such as Jackson Pollock.

    Warhol put much thought and design into these works, and is quoted as saying, "[these paintings] had technique, too. If I asked someone to do an Oxidation painting, and they just wouldn't think about it, it would just be a mess. Then I did it myself -- and it's just too much work -- and you try to figure out a good design.

    Urine on metallic pigment in acrylic pigment on canvas - Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. They were inspired by the so-called Rorschach test, devised by the Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach. The test requires patients to say what they see in a set of ten standardized ink blots; in this way Rorschach believed we might gain access to unconscious thoughts.

    Warhol believed that much abstract painting functioned in a similar way: instead of artists being able to communicate thoughts through abstract form, as many believed, he thought that viewers simply projected their own ideas on to the pictures. His Rorschach pictures were therefore a kind of parody of abstract painting: they were mirrors which reflected the viewer's own thoughts, and at times they seemed to resemble genitalia or wallpaper designs. Warhol's reputation was flagging in the early s, and he had painted little since the s, but his collaboration with Basquiat, which spanned two years between , energized him and placed him amidst a young and more fashionable generation.

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    General Electric with Waiter is typical of the pictures the pair produced together: Warhol contributed enlarged headlines, brand names and fragments of advertisements; Basquiat added his expressive graffiti. The success of the series rested on the cartoon qualities inherent in both Pop art and graffiti. It can be argued that Warhol's most successful artwork was the image of himself, invented and reinvented over his body of work.

    Simply consider the fact that Warhol started his art career as a nerdy, shy, balding designer and ended it as a star whose popularity could match his greatest depictions Monroe, Elvis, Mao. In this particular work, the focus is on Warhol's head and wig one of dozens he wore over the years. By using repetitive images, each slightly different to the next, and then overlapping the images, Warhol produces the illusion of movement. Created towards the end of his life, Self-Portrait displays the artist in his signature wig, and also makes dramatic use of shadow and light.

    Warhol's mother was a very religious woman who instilled in him a connection to the church. Warhol's religiosity is most exemplified by the late works that he created based on Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper — Warhol based his works on a black and white photograph of a popular 19 th century engraving and ended up producing over a hundred drawings, paintings, and silkscreens of the Renaissance masterpiece.

    From superimposing brand names over the faces of the apostles, to cutting up the unity of the scene, Warhol honored the original painting while adding it into his business enterprise. Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors. Updated and modified regularly.

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