Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol was an American artist who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, he became a renowned and sometimes controversial artist. Warhol's art encompassed many forms of media, including hand drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, silk screening, sculpture, film, and music.

Andy Warhol was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from working-class emigrants from Slovakia, part of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. Warhol's father immigrated to the United States in 1914, joined by his mother in 1921. In third grade, Warhol had Sydenham's chorea, a nervous system disease that causes involuntary movements of the extremities. After that, he became a hypochondriac, developing a fear of hospitals and doctors. He later described this period as very important in the development of his personality, skill-set and preferences. After graduating from high school he enrolled in the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, where he studied commercial art. In 1949, he moved to New York City and began a career in magazine illustration and advertising.

During the 1950s, Warhol gained fame for his whimsical ink drawings of shoe advertisements. Warhol was an early adopter of the silk screen printmaking process as a technique for making paintings. His earliest silkscreening in painting involved hand-drawn images though this soon progressed to the use of photographically derived silkscreening in paintings. He began exhibiting his work during the 1950s.

It was during the 1960s that Warhol began to make paintings of iconic American objects such as dollar bills, mushroom clouds, electric chairs, Campbell's Soup Cans, Coca-Cola bottles, celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Marlon Brando, Troy Donahue, Muhammad Ali and Elizabeth Taylor, as well as newspaper headlines or photographs of police dogs attacking civil rights protesters. During these years, he founded his studio, "The Factory" and gathered about him a wide range of artists, writers, musicians, and underground celebrities. His work became popular and controversial.

On June 3, 1968, Valerie Solanas shot Warhol and Mario Amaya, art critic and curator, at Warhol's studio. Before the shooting, Solanas had been a marginal figure in the Factory scene. Warhol was seriously wounded by the attack and barely survived. He suffered physical effects for the rest of his life, including being required to wear a surgical corset. The shooting had a profound effect on Warhol's life and art.

Compared to the success and scandal of Warhol's work in the 1960s, the 1970s were a much quieter decade, as he became more entrepreneurial. He devoted much of his time to rounding up new, rich patrons for portrait commissions. Warhol had a re-emergence of critical and financial success in the 1980s, partially due to his affiliation and friendships with a number of prolific younger artists, who were dominating the "bull market" of 1980s New York art: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Julian Schnabel, David Salle and other so-called Neo-Expressionists. By this period, Warhol was being criticized for becoming merely a "business artist".

Warhol died in New York City on February 22, 1987. According to news reports, he had been making good recovery from a routine gallbladder surgery at New York Hospital before dying in his sleep from a sudden post-operative cardiac arrhythmia.

© Wikipedia modified by A drop of art