Andy Warhol changed the face of art
Having defined and pioneered the pop art genre, Andy Warhol remains a hugely influential artist who has forced subsequent generations to reevaluate everyday objects.
That look is a brand
Andy Warhol produced many famous self-portraits, yet he never aimed to provide a realistic representation of himself. Instead, he would slip into roles to deceive the viewer, presenting images that seemed like copies that are copies of copies. The self-portraits were an important part of Warhol's brand.
From press photo to artwork
One of Andy Warhol's most famous paintings came shortly after the death of Marilyn Monroe. The sex symbol was the focus of a series of interchangeable images that aimed to change the way the original works were perceived. Art as mass merchandise was the goal of the master of pop art. Or at the very least, it made for good advertising.
Warhol and other early pop artists provocatively used everyday objects such as cans of soup, boxes of detergent or bubble gum, and turned them into art by reproducing them in bright colors. These works quickly became very expensive.
Born in Pittsburgh in 1928, Warhol studied commercial art at what is now Carnegie Mellon University. After graduating in 1949, he moved to New York City and worked as an advertising artist. He advanced artistic techniques, such as using tracing paper and ink, to enable him to repeat basic images and create endless variations on the same theme. Shown here is one depiction of singer Liza Minelli.
The method predates his 1960s silk-screen canvas technique that would become his trademark. It was also during the 60s that he would create paintings of dollar bills, mushroom clouds and his iconic images of Campbell's soup cans and coke bottles. He would go on to paint portraits of celebrities such as Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson (shown here).
Warhol also chose to depict others in the limelight, from boxer Muhammed Ali to Chinese Communist leader Mao Tse-tung and German Chancellor Willy Brandt (shown here, from 1976). Warhol was often commissioned with such pieces, more so by third parties than the subjects themselves. It was a lucrative business.
Warhol worked in a wide range of media, including painting, photography, film, music and books. His New York studio became known as "The Factory," where other artists, wealthy patrons and celebrities would gather. Warhol himself would frequent the club Studio 54, where he is shown here with designer Calvin Klein, model Brooke Shields and club owner Steve Rubell (left to right).
The wild side
Warhol also embraced music culture, choosing in the 1960s to adopt the band the Velvet Underground. Along with singer Nico, the band became a central element of Warhol's "Exploding Plastic Inevitable" multi-media performance show, which consisted of it's music, screenings of Warhol's films, dancing, and performances by "Factory" regulars. Shown here is Velvet Underground lead singer Lou Reed.
In the 1980s, Warhol returned to painting, teaming up with artists such as David Hockney, Cy Twombly and Jean-Michel Basquiat (shown here with Warhol). With the latter, Warhol created over 50 collaborative works which drew mixed reviews, but some of which Warhol considered "masterpieces."
Having survived an attempted murder by Factory visitor Valerie Solanas in 1968, Warhol lived to the age of 58, dying in New York City in 1987. Before his death, he was working on a series entitled "Cars," commissioned by automaker Mercedes-Benz, which remained uncompleted. This image from the series shows the bold, vibrant colors for which pop art visionary Andy Warhol is famous.