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Art Appreciation

Artist Report--Andy Warhol

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"If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There's nothing behind it."--Andy Warhol
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The Prince of Pop, Andrew Warhola, was born on August 6, 1928 in Forest City, PA, to Ondrej Warhola and Julia Zavacky.  While Andy was still a child, the family moved to Pittsburgh.  His father worked as a construction worker, and he died in an accident when Andy was 13 years old.
In the third grade, Andy got St. Vitus' dance, an affliction of the nervous system causing involuntary movements which is believed to be a complication of scarlett fever.  This disease led to a blotchiness in pigmentation of his skin, and he became somewhat of a hypochondriac, developing a fear of hospitals and medical doctors. Because he was at times bed-ridden, he became an outcast among his school-mates and bonded with his mother very strongly.  Later, she would move in with Andy in New York. When in bed, he used to draw, listen to the radio and collect pictures of movie stars around his bed. Looking back later, Andy described the period of his sickness as very important in the development of his personality and in the forming of his skill-set and preferences.
As a teenager, Andy suffered from nervous breakdowns which he later overcame, graduating from Schenley High School in Pittsburgh in 1945.  Andy enrolled in the Carnegie Institute of Technology, graduating in June 1949.
 
Andy moved to New York, and it was during this time that he dropped the "a" from his last name and became Andy Warhol.  In New York, Andy began doing drawings for different magazines, like Glamour and Vogue.  Andy's first solo exhibition was held at Hugo Gallery, New York in 1952.  Andy then began illustrating books and designing sets for a theater group, and he dyed his hair silver.
 
In 1956, he had his first group exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.  He began receiving awards for his work, and he was becoming very famous in the New York art scene.  In 1960, Andy began to make paintings.  He painted objects found on a daily basis like Campbell Soup cans, Coke bottles, and dollar bills.
 
In 1962, he began making silkscreen prints of celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor.  He drove to his second exhibition at the Ferus Gallery in November.  He found a loft at 231 East 47th Street which became The Factory.  The Factory was an art studio where Andy employed "art workers" to mass produce prints, posters, and other items designed by him.  Besides producing art, The Factory became a filmmaking studio as well.  Andy made over 300 films--most bizarre and some pornographic.  His first film, Sleep, showed a man sleeping for over 6 hours.
 
In 1965, Andy announced his retirement from painting, but soon enough, he was back at it again.  He resumed painting in 1972 when he met Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Maureen Tucker, and a model named Nico.  The group became known as The Velvet Underground, and Andy produced their first album, The Velvet Underground and Nico.
 
Later, Andy moved The Factory to 33 Union Square West.  Later that year, Andy was shot in the chest by Valerie Solanis.  She had worked for him on occasion at The Factory and was a member of Society for Cutting Up Men.  Andy had to spend 2 months in the hospital, but he was very lucky to still be alive. 
Andy never fully recovered, emotionally and physically.  He quit the filmmaking business, but occasionally still contributed to art.
 
During the 1970's and 80's, Andy became huge.  He started his own magazine, Interview, and he resumed painting in 1972, although mostly of celebrity portraits.  He opened a night club, and The Factory was moved to 860 Broadway.  A retrospective exhibition was held throughout the late 70's and 80's while Andy worked on the Reversals, Retrospectives, and Shadows series.  The Myths series, Endangered Species series, and Ads series follwed. 
 
On February 22, 1987, Andy Warhol died following complications from a gall bladder sugery.  He was 58 years old.  More than 2,000 people attended the memorial mass.  In May 1994, the Andy Warhol Musuem opened up in his home town of Pittsburgh, PA.
 
 
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The media Andy used in his early days was mainly drawing.  Later on, he began painting.  He also became known for using silkscreen printing.  He used this to mass produce mass produced objects, like the Campbell's soup can, for example.
 
I chose to research Andy Wahol because I had always heard about him being a very interesting and bizarre person, but I never really knew anything about him myself. 
I think he has some of the best artwork I have ever seen.  I must admit that my favorite thing about all of his works is how colorful they all are.  But after looking at quite a few of them, I realize the real reason I love them is simply because he can make everyday ojects look beautiful.

"Art is what you can get away with."--Andy Warhol