"Don't pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches."

Happy birthday Andy Warhol!

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Andy Warhol (August 6, 1928—February 22, 1987) was an American multimedia artist. He is best known for pioneering the visual art movement called pop art, depicting objects and figures from American popular culture using innovative printmaking techniques. His studio, known as "The Factory," became a haven for many prominent intellectuals and artists of the 1960s.

 

 

Warhol was born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Ondrej and Julia Warhola, immigrants from Slovakia. The family was Byzantine Catholic and lived in one of the city's eastern european enclaves.

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When Warhol was just eight years old, he developed Chorea (St. Vitus' Dance), an illness that kept him bedridden for months. During this time, he became very close with his mother. She gave him his first drawing lessons and soon drawing became Warhol's favorite pastime. His mother also encouraged his interest in photography, buying him a camera when he was nine. He took free art classes offered at the Carnegie Institute. (Image source)

Warhol was also a fan of the movies and kept postcards of movie stars on the walls around his bed.

When Warhol was 14, his father died of a jaundiced liver. Ondrej Warhola had recognized Warhol's talents as a child and had written in his will that his life savings go to Warhol's college education. After graduating high school, he studied pictorial design at Carnegie Institute for Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University).

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He first gained recognition for his drawings of shoe advertisements, but soon was hired by RCA Records to design album covers as the vinyl record industry expanded. During this period, Warhol began experimenting with printmaking techniques and began one of the first adopters of silk screening.

The 1960s saw Warhol's work rise to prominence. He had major exhibitions in New York and Los Angeles, and soon was becoming iconic for his pop art style. In November of 1962, he had an exhibition at Eleanor Ward's Stable Gallery which included the works

Marilyn Diptych,

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100 Soup Cans,

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100 Coke Bottles,

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and 100 Dollar Bills.

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He further developed this style throughout the 1960s, mostly depicting popular objects and figures of American life including dollar bills, mushroom clouds, electric chairs, Campbell's Soup Cans, Coca-Cola bottles, Elvis Presley, Marlon Brando, Troy Donahue,

Muhammad Ali,

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and Elizabeth Taylor.

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In a 1964 exhibit at Paul Bianchini's Upper East Side gallery called The American Supermarket, audiences were confronted with the question of what art is; paintings of American supermarket products were juxtaposed with the physical products themselves.

Warhol kept a studio called "The Factory," where he worked with many prominent alternative figures including Freddie Herko, Ondine, Ronald Tavel, Mary Woronov, Billy Name, Brigid Berlin, Nico, Joe Dallesandro, Edie Sedgwick, Viva, Ultra Violet, Holly Woodlawn, Jackie Curtis, and Candy Darling. By this point, Warhol was exploring a variety of media, including film and other audiovisuals.

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In 1968, radical feminist writer Valerie Solanas shot Warhol and art critic Mario Amaya. Warhol was badly injured and required heart surgery. The incident affected him physically and mentally for the rest of his life.

He continued to explore various media throughout the 1970s and by the 1980s even hosted two television programs, Andy Warhol's TV and Andy Warhol's Fifteen Minutes on MTV.

 

Warhol died in his sleep in 1987 after a routine gallbladder surgery of a cardiac arrhythmia. He was 58 years old.

Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Wednesday, 06 August 2014
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