Everyone Will Be Famous For 15 Minutes.

From the groovin' sixties to the disco seventies and the omnipresent hip eighties, Andy Warhol was one of the most prolific and popular artists, using both avant-garde and highly commercial sensibilities.

Artist, Andy Warhol

A successful magazine illustrator who became famous when he started stealing photographer's photos, making screen-prints of them, and selling them for more than the photographer ever got for the original. "Art is what you can get away with," stated, Warhol.

Relishing in his celebrity, he quickly became a consistent fixture at infamous hot-spots in New York like Studio 54. A former nightclub that Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager launched at the peak of the disco era.

Warhol's works explore relationships between artistic expression, advertising, and celebrity culture that flourished by the 1960s and span a variety of media, including painting, silk-screening, photography, film, and sculpture. Some of his best-known works include the silkscreen paintings of Campbell's Soup Cans in 1962. These small canvas works of everyday consumer products created a major stir in the art world that brought both Warhol and the new Pop Art movement into the national spotlight.

He controversially blurred the lines between fine art and mainstream aesthetics, and he preferred to be an enigma going to great lengths to avoid and discourage the media from vying into his background.

Born Andrew Warhola on August 6, 1928, in the neighborhood of Oakland in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Warhol's parents, working-class Slovakian immigrants. His father, Andrej Warhola, was a construction worker, while his mother, Julia Warhola, an embroiderer.

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 laid up in bed, that his mother, a skillful artist herself, gave him his first drawing lessons.

Drawing soon became Warhol's favorite childhood pastime. He also was an avid fan of the cinema, and when his mother bought him a camera at the age of nine, he took up photography, learning to develop film in a makeshift darkroom set up in their basement.

In 1942, at the volatile age of 14, Warhol's father passed away from a jaundiced liver. Andy was so upset that he hid under his bed during the funeral. His father recognized his son's artistic talents and dictated in his will that his life savings go toward Warhol's college education.

After graduating from Carnegie Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1949, Warhol moved to New York City to pursue a career as a commercial artist. September, he landed a job with Glamour magazine and went on to become one of the most successful commercial artists of the 1950s. In 1952, Warhol had his first art gallery exhibition at the Bodley Gallery with a display of works inspired by Truman Capote.

In the late fifties, Warhol diverted his commercial illustration practice to focus on painting, and in the early sixties, he became a key in the development of the Pop Art movement which was developed to counter the elitist philosophy commonly found in the high-end fine art world through the use of dynamic irony.

Warhol's thriving career almost came to a screeching halt when he was shot by Valerie Solanas, an aspiring writer, and radical feminist on June 3, 1968. Post-gun-shot wound; life for Warhol wasn't a cake-walk. He, unfortunately, suffered from chronic gallbladder issues and on February 20, 1987, he was admitted to a hospital in New York where his gallbladder was successfully removed, however, days later he suffered complications and went into sudden cardiac arrest and died on February 22, 1987, at the age of 58.

Thirty-three years postmortem, Warhol's captivating work still leads. One could say, dying increased his popularity and may have garnered him the solo show he desperately desired at the Museum of Modern Art in 1989.

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© 2017 - 2020 by Matthew R. Paden. All Rights Reserved.
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