Andy Warhol

Andrew Warhol (1928, Pennsylvania, United States-1987, New York, United States) was born to to Slovak migrants. From 1945 to 1949 Warhol studied pictorial design at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh before moving to New York. There he worked as an illustrator for magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, producing advertisements and window displays. Meanwhile he began to paint and in 1952 had his first solo exhibition at New York’s Hugo Gallery.

Influenced by meeting Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, Warhol worked increasingly to establish himself as a serious painter. His first Pop Art paintings, from 1960, use images from adverts and comics. He began using an Abstract Expressionist style but eventually moved on to adopt a more pared-down, inexpressive style that sought to challenge notions of what art is. Exhibiting paintings of rows of Campbell’s soup cans and Coca- Cola bottles in 1962, Warhol achieved notoriety. In 1962 Warhol founded the Factory, where he could depict massed ranks of goods using mass- production screen printing. In this art studio, assistants carried out much of the work under his supervision, distancing him further from the traditional artist’s role.

From 1963 Warhol began experimenting with film, and by 1968 he had made over 60 films and 500 or so short black-and-white portrait clips of visitors to the Factory. Works such as Empire (1964), an eight-hour film, present boredom as an extreme aesthetic experience. Warhol’s impersonal approach extends into the films, which generally lack narrative and use improvised dialogue. In June 1968, he was shot and seriously injured by Valerie Solanis of the Society for Cutting Up Men (SCUM).

During the 1960s and 1970s, Warhol produced portrait prints of Hollywood personalities and rock stars, fashion designers, artists, and political leaders, among them Liz Taylor, Brigitte Bardot and Mao Zedong.

Among the most experimental of his later pieces are two ventures into virtual abstraction. Shadows (1979) is a sequence of 102 screen-prints from a hugely enlarged photograph of a diagonal shadow cast by a painting in Warhol’s studio. Mounted side-by-side right around the exhibition space, with black sectors butted up against glowing colour, they have something of the effect of film frames. Even more radical was the Oxidation series (1978): Warhol and his assistants prepared canvases by covering the surfaces with copper paint and then urinated on them to make iridescent designs in yellows, oranges, and greens.

Warhol ran two television shows in the 1980s and worked in collaboration with various younger American and European artists Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Francesco Clemente. Resuming painting by hand, a process he had not used since the 1960s, he responded to a commission to produce a Last Supper.

Warhol died in New York on 22 February 1987 and was buried in Pittsburgh. 2,000 people attended the memorial mass held at St Patrick’s Cathedral, New York. Two museums are dedicated to his life and work. One in Slovakia and one in Pittsburgh, as well as the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, formed according to his wishes in 1987.

Selected Exhibitions

Becoming Andy Warhol, UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2022; Andy Warhol: Ladies & Gentlemen, artROOM, Konstanz, Germany, 2021; ANDY WARHOL: DEATH AND DISASTER, IKON, Los Angeles, CA, 2021; Iconic Prints of Andy Warhol, Geist, London, United Kingdom, 2021; Andy Warhol – Works from the 70s and 80s, Galerie Boisseree, Colgone, Germany, 2021; Andy Warhol, Tate Modern, London, England, 2020; Andy Warhol: Shadows, Dia: Beacon, Beacon, NY, 2019; From A to B and Back Again, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, traveled to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA, 2018; Andy Warhol, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden, 2018; Pop Art From the Anderson Collection at Sfmoma, Cantor Arts Center, Stanford, CA, 2018; Andy Warhol: Shadows, Calvin Klein Headquarters, New York, NY, 2018; Sixty Last Suppers, Museo del Novecento, Milan, Italy, 2017; Andy Warhol: Shadows, Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain, 2016; Andy Warhol: Works from the Hall Collection, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England, 2016; Andy Warhol: Dark Star, Museo Jumex, Mexico City, Mexico, 2016; Becoming Jewish: Warhol’s Liz and Marilyn, The Jewish Museum, New York, NY, 2015; Yes! Yes! Yes! Warholmania in Munich, Museum Brandhorst, Munich, Germany, 2015; Capturing Fame: Photographs and Prints by Andy Warhol, Richard E. Peeler Art Center, Depauw University, Greencastle, Indiana, 2015; Warhol: Myths and Legends from the Cochran Collection, Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christie, TX, 2015; Warhol by the Book, Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA, 2015; The Late Drawings of Andy Warhol: 1973 – 1987, The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, NY, 2015; Andy Warhol: 1950s Drawings, Anton Kern Gallery, New York, NY, 2014; Transmitting Andy Warhol, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, England, 2014; Andy Warhol: Death and Disaster, Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz, Germany, 2014; Andy Warhol: Shadows, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA, 2014; Warhol: Art. Fame. Mortality, The Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, FL, 2014; Andy Warhol’s 13 Most Wanted Men and the 1964 World’s Fair, Queens Museum of Art, New York, NY, 2014.

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