ANDY WARHOLAmerican, 1928-1987
Andy Warhol is one of America’s best-known artists. Warhol was born in Forest City, Pennsylvania in 1930 as Andrew Warhola, son of Czechoslovakian immigrants. He attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh from 1945 to 1949, where he received training in graphic design, and graduated with the intention of becoming a public school art teacher. During the summers he worked creating window displays for the Joseph Horne Department Store in Pittsburgh. Upon graduation he moved to New York City and began a career as a commercial artist, producing illustrations for Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, and other major fashion magazines. He also developed ads for the I. Miller Department store, and designed book and music album jackets. By 1955, Warhol was the most successful and most influential commercial artist in New York. The first public appearance of his comic strip characters was in a window display for Lord and Taylor in 1961. His first exhibition consisted of thirty-two versions of his Campbell’s Soup Can at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, in 1962. His second exhibition, also in 1962, at the Stable Gallery in New York, which included his Red Elvis and Marilyn variations, made him famous. Andy Warhol’s art simultaneously glamorized and criticized the American condition. He confronted art with mainstream mass-produced culture and commercialism. As the founder and most influential figure of the Pop Art movement, Warhol himself became a pop culture hero, and his East Forty-seventh Street studio, known as the Factory, became the center of pop culture in New York. One of Warhol’s most important developments was his use of enlarged photographic images silk-screened directly onto canvas or paper. This technique enabled him to produce a series of mass-media images quickly and inexpensively. Iconographic objects such as U.S. Dollar Bills, Coca-Cola Bottles, and the faces of celebrities and politicians became highly sought after by art enthusiasts. In the late 1960s, Warhol also experimented with film. He founded inter/VIEW magazine in 1969, published “The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again”, and continued to produce silk-screens until his death in 1987.