Andy Warhol (1928–1987) is one of the most significant and influential figures in twentieth-century American art history and popular culture. His creativity and immense body of work has inspired artists on a global scale. Warhol blurred the lines between celebrity, artist, and fashion icon. His signature technique of large format screen printing (serigraphy) using industrial materials such as enamel, paint, and sheet metal was only part of his practice. Warhol was also a talented photographer, experimental filmmaker, and skilled draftsman. His garish and colorful screen prints embraced commercial capitalism and mass production as irrefutable forces in twentieth-century America. As one of the most recognized Pop artists in history, Warhol’s legacy of iconic imagery continues to be influential.
Andy Warhol was born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1928. As a nervous child, Warhol often turned to the world of popular culture as a form of escapism. Warhol attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh from 1945 to 1949, earning a degree in Pictorial Design. After graduating, Warhol moved to New York City where he began working as a commercial illustrator. Although shy, Warhol quickly established himself as a graphic designer, working on projects for major companies including I. Miller & Sons, Tiffany & Co., Columbia Records, and Vogue.
Although he would continue to support himself with commercial art into the 1960s, Warhol developed a reputation as a painter. His first solo exhibition was at the Hugo Gallery in 1952. By 1956 the Museum of Modern Art included him in a group show.
During the 1960s, Warhol produced many of his most iconic works. At the forefront of the Pop Art movement, Warhol appropriated the imagery of consumer and popular culture. His Campbell’s Soup Cans, Brillo Boxes, and Dollar Sign series can all be traced to this pivotal moment. Most of Warhol’s work during this time was produced through a process of manipulating photographs and screenprinting, both working to eliminate the artist’s hand from the final work.
After 1965, Warhol began to dedicate himself increasingly to the production of films. Warhol’s studio, known as “The Factory” became a center of popular culture in its own right. The many films he produced in The Factory during the 1960s are now considered to be avant-garde classics; even his shorts are seen as documents of a unique social setting comprised of the rich and the famous alongside unconventional personalities.
In 1968, radical author Valerie Solanas attempted to take Warhol’s life. Warhol survived, but the near-death experience prompted him to document his life in a meticulous fashion with The Warhol Diaries, which was partially released in 1987. Warhol’s work became more commercially minded, and in the decade following the trauma, he produced a series of commissioned portraits. However, he continued to create culturally relevant work like his Mao series of the 1970s. Warhol’s late work, produced in the 1980s, often addressed religious themes and returned to a hand-painted technique. His iconic Last Supper painted during this period combines Leonardo da Vinci’s well-known fresco with the major brand names of the twentieth century.
Warhol died on February 22, 1987 due to complications from gall bladder surgery. Thousands attended his funeral held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York.
2013 – “Andy Warhol: Life, Death and Beauty,” Beaux-arts Mons, Mons, Belgium
2013 – “Andy Warhol: Power and Politics,” The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, Scotland
2012 – “Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Exhibition,” University Gallery, Clarion University, Clarion, PA
2012 – “Regarding Warhol: Fifty Artists, Fifty Years,” Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York
2011 – “Andy Warhol and Elizabeth Taylor,” Gagosian Gallery, New York, New York
2011 – “Warhol Headlines,” National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
2010 – Andy Warhol: Motion Pictures, Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York
2010 – Andy Warhol: Early Drawings, Stitched Photographs, Posters and Prints, Perth Museum & Art Gallery, Perth, Scotland
2009 – “Andy Warhol: The Greatest Works from The Andy Warhol Museum,” Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea
2009 – “Warhol Live,” The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2008 – “Andy Warhol: 15 Weeks of Fame,” Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, Arkansas
2008 – “Andy Warhol: Pop Politics,” Currier Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York
2007 – “Andy Warhol Retrospective,” Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia
2007 – “Andy Warhol,” Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
2006 – “Prints of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back again),” Kampa Museum, Prague, Czech Republic
2006 – “Time Capsule 64,” The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2001/06 – “Andy Warhol Campbell’s Soup Cans,” Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California
1999 – “Andy Warhol: Diamond Dust Shoes,” Gagosian Gallery, New York, New York
1998 – “Andy Warhol: A Factory,” Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain
1989 – “Success is a Job IN New York… The Early Art and Business of Andy Warhol,” Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania
1989 – “Andy Warhol: A Retrospective,” The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
1989 – “Andy Warhol: A Retrospective,” The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York
1981 – “Andy Warhol Reversals,” Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, New York
1979 – “Andy Warhol: Portraits of the 70s,” The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York
1976 – “XXXVI Biennale,” Venice, Italy
1972 – “Andy Warhol Films,” Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
1970 – “Andy Warhol,” Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois
1970 – “Andy Warhol,” The Tate Gallery, London, United Kingdom
1970 – “Andy Warhol,” The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York
1968 – “Andy Warhol: Most Wanted Men,” Rowan Gallery, London, United Kingdom
1966 – “Andy Warhol: Wallpaper and Silver Clouds,” Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, New York
1966 – “Andy Warhol: Holy Cow! Silver Clouds! Holy Cow!,” Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
1962 – “Andy Warhol: Campbell’s Soup Cans,” Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1952 – “Andy Warhol: Fifteen Drawings Based on the Writings of Truman Capote,” Hugo Gallery, New York, New York
The New York Times – “Regarding Warhol” Slideshow supplied by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
The New York Times – “Andy Warhol, Outside his Comfort Zone” by Roberta Smith
The New Criterion – “The Death of Andy Warhol” by Hilton Kramer
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