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Profile of Andy Warhol
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|Also Know As:
|Date of Birth:
||6th August 1928
|Place of Birth:
||Forest City, Pennsylvania, USA
Andy Warhol (born Andrew Warhola August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987) was an American painter, film-maker, publisher and a major figure in the pop art movement.
Warhol was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States, to immigrants of Ruthenian ethnicity from the village of Mikova, then in Austria-Hungary, but now located in northeast Slovakia. He showed early artistic talent and studied commercial art at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now known as Carnegie Mellon University) in Pittsburgh.But he did not always do very well in college and was often misunderstood by his peers and tutors. Upon graduating 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.
In the 1960s, he started to make paintings of famous American products like Campbell's soup cans and Coca-Cola. He switched to silkscreen prints, seeking not only to make art of mass produced items, but to mass produce the art itself. He has said that he wanted to be (like) a robot. He hired and supervised "art workers" engaged in making prints, shoes, films, books and other items at his studio, The Factory, located on Union Square in New York City. Warhol's body of work furthermore includes commissioned portraits and commercials.
Besides his work as a painter, Warhol was known as a highly prolific filmmaker. Between 1963 and 1968, he made more than sixty films. His most famous one, Sleep (1963), shows a man (John Giorno, who had a relationship with Warhol) sleeping for eight hours. In the 35 minute film Blow Job (1963), he shows the face of David Perlman receiving fellatio. Another, Empire (1964), consists of eight hours of footage of the Empire State Building in New York City at dusk. Warhol's 1965 film Vinyl is an adaptation of Anthony Burgess' popular dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange.
He 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's character has also been represented in several motion pictures. He has been portrayed by Crispin Glover, David Bowie, and Jared Harris, in The Doors, Basquiat, and I Shot Andy Warhol, respectively.
Books and media
Warhol "wrote" several books.
- 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) is said to have been written by his Factory friends, and describes Andy Warhol's Pop Philosophy in sound bites and conversations. In the title "from A to B and back again" refers to daily phone conversations between "A" Andy Warhol and "B" Brigid Polk.
- 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 Pop Art.
- The Andy Warhol Diaries (1989, ISBN 0-446-39138-7, edited by Pat Hackett) is an edited diary that was dictated by Warhol to Hacket in daily phone conversations. Warhol started keeping a diary to keep track of his expenses after being audited.
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.
On June 3, 1968, Valerie Solanas, a Factory regular, entered Warhol's studio and fired three shots at Warhol, nearly killing him. Although the first two rounds missed, the third passed through Warhol's left lung, spleen, stomach, liver, esophagus and right lung. Solanas then turned the gun on a companion of Warhol, Mario Amaya, injuring his thigh. Although Warhol survived these injuries, he never fully recovered. Solanas later explained that "he had too much control over my life." The story of Valerie Solanas was made into the 1996 movie I Shot Andy Warhol starring Lili Taylor and directed by Mary Harron.
Warhol's friend Lou Reed, for one, never forgave Solanas for the attack. In 1990 he recorded the album Songs for Drella with fellow Velvet Underground alumnus John Cale, which contained the song I Believe. In it, Reed sang "I believe/I would've pulled the switch on her myself." In other songs on the album, Reed expresses his regrets about not having paid a lot of attention to Warhol in the time before his death.
Warhol himself ultimately forgave Solanas and later satirized the whole event in a subsequent movie, calling a group similar to Solanas' S.C.U.M. (Society for Cutting Up Men), P.I.G. – Politically Involved Girlies.
Social animal and private person
Warhol used to socialize at Serendipity and Studio 54, nightclubs in New York City. One of Warhol's favorite pop bands was Blondie; at one of the shows on their final tour in 1982 he also "fell in love" with both the music and the pretty looks of their opening act, Duran Duran. He maintained a friendship with the band (and especially keyboardist Nick Rhodes) for many years.
Warhol was generally regarded as quiet and a meticulous observer or even a voyeur. More than one person jokingly referred to him as "death warmed over." He had a keen eye for art in general and furthered the Duchamp-esque notion that if you simply point at something and call it "art," it is. He was openly gay, rare for celebrities of his stature at the time, and paid tribute to many male friends and workers in his private art and collections. A meticulous collector, he organized almost every piece of paper, fan mail—after taking off the stamps—and magazine related to his fame along with personal notes, gay pornography and found artifacts into hundreds of numbered boxes and set them aside, never to open them again. Warhol referred to these boxes as his "time capsule". Many exist today and are available for research at his Pittsburgh museum.
Warhol would regularly volunteer at the homeless shelters in New York, particularly during the busier times of the year. He described himself as a religious person, not fully accepted by religion because of his homosexuality. Many of his works contain almost hidden religious themes or subjects.
Warhol died in New York City following routine gall bladder surgery at the age of 58. Warhol was afraid of hospitals and doctors, so he delayed having his recurring gall bladder problems checked.
He is interred at St. John the Baptist Catholic Cemetery south of Pittsburgh. Fellow artist Yoko Ono was among the speakers at his funeral.
After his death it took Sotheby's several days to auction his estate, for a total gross amount of over 20 million dollars.
Outside of the art world, Andy Warhol is best known for saying that "In the future, everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes." Over the course of his lifetime the phrase became popular enough to enter the public space. He later told reporters, humorously, "My new line is, 'In fifteen minutes everybody will be famous.'"
The Andy Warhol Museum is located in the North Shore district of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is the largest American art museum dedicated to a single artist, holding more than 4,000 works by the artist himself.
Among others, Andy's brother, John Warhola, and the Warhol Foundation in New York, established in 1991 the Warhol Family Museum of Modern Art in the remote town of Medzilaborce, Slovakia. Andy's mother, Julia Warhola, was born 15 kilometres away in the village 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.
- L'Amour (1972)
- Blue Movie (1969)
- Lonesome Cowboys (1969)
- San Diego Surf (1968)
- The Loves of Ondine (1968)
- The Andy Warhol Story (1967)
- Tiger Morse (1967)
- Four Stars (1967)
- Imitation of Christ (1967)
- The Nude Restaurant (1967)
- Bike Boy (1967)
- I, a Man (1967)
- Ari and Mario (1966)
- Hedy (1966)
- Kiss the Boot (1966)
- Milk (1966)
- Salvador Dalí (1966)
- Shower (1966)
- Sunset (1966)
- Superboy (1966)
- The Closet (1966)
- Chelsea Girls (1966)
- The Beard (1966)
- More Milk, Evette (1966)
- Outer and Inner Space (1966)
- The Velvet Underground and Nico (1966)
- Beauty #2 (1965)
- Bitch (1965)
- Camp (1965)
- Harlot (1965)
- Horse (1965)
- Kitchen (1965)
- The Life of Juanita Castro (1965)
- My Hustler (1965)
- Poor Little Rich Girl (1965)
- Restaurant (1965)
- Space (1965)
- Taylor Mead's Ass (1965)
- Vynil (1965)
- Screen Test (1965)
- Screen Test #2 (1965)
- 13 Most Beautiful Women (1964)
- Batman Dracula (1964)
- Clockwork (1964)
- Couch (1964)
- Drunk (1964)
- Empire (1964)
- The End of Dawn (1964)
- Lips (1964)
- Mario Banana I (1964)
- Mario Banana II (1964)
- Messy Lives (1964)
- Naomi and Rufus Kiss (1964)
- Tarzan and Jane Regained... Sort of (1964)
- The Thirteen Most Beautiful Boys (1964)
- Blow Job (1963)
- Eat (1963)
- Haircut (1963)
- Kiss (1963)
- Naomi's Birthday Party (1963)
- Sleep (1963)
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