b. 1928 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA – d. 1987 New York City, New York, USA
1949 BFA Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh
Andy Warhol’s influence on art and contemporary culture cannot be exaggerated. His celebration of celebrity, relationship to consumerism and interrogation of authenticity, has impacted on the way art and popular culture is viewed, produced and valued. As a pioneer of Pop Art, Warhol created a prolific outpouring of work in film, photography, painting and printmaking.
Warhol’s childhood influenced his life and work. Having suffered from a neurological disorder as a child, Warhol spent his early years bedridden, drawing, listening to the radio, reading comic books and collecting pictures of movie stars.
After studying commercial arts the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Warhol moved to New York and became a successful commercial artist, providing illustration work for Columbia Records, Vogue, Tiffany and Harper’s Bazaar. In 1952 Warhol had his first solo show at the Hugo Gallery in New York exhibiting Fifteen Drawings based on the Writings of Truman Capote. His work was exhibited in several other venues during the 1950s including the first group show held by the Museum of Modern Art in 1956.
It was in the 1960s that Warhol created some of his most iconic Pop Art images incorporating commercial products, news stories and celebrities. For example Liz (1963), the Death and Disaster series (1962-63) and the Jackie series (1966) were produced during this era. Working out of his famous studio, The Factory, the artist also worked in film and video, producing 16mm films such as Sleep, Empire, Blow Job (all in 1963), Kiss (1964) and Chelsea Girls (1966).
In 1968 Warhol survived an attempt on his life. Radical feminist Valerie Solanas shot Warhol outside The Factory believing he was involved in a conspiracy concerning a film script. This experience had a huge impact on Warhol, making him aware of his mortality and leading him to focus on the documentation of his life.
In late 1969 Warhol co-founded Interview: a magazine celebrating art, fashion, film and celebrity. The 1970s saw Warhol receive innumerable commissions from sports figures, politicians, celebrities and writers. Warhol’s immersion into every genre of popular culture continued with his creation of album art for The Rolling Stones, and later, his productions for TV that included Andy Warhol’s TV and Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes.
During the 1980s Warhol collaborated with key emerging artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. During this period Warhol produced important works such as Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century (1980), Myths series, Ads series, Camouflage series and the Reversals series. He also produced small-scale canvas paintings such as Moon Explorer Robot (1983) and Campbell’s Soup Box-Chicken Noodle (1986). His Last Supper paintings and Sewn Photos were the last series of works to be exhibited a month before he died in 1987.
Today Warhol is celebrated for his ideas, influence and cultural significance in exhibitions across the globe. Collectors Contemporary is delighted to be able to share with the public the largest collection of Warhol works in the region.
All images © 2013 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York