Andrew Warhola was born on 6 August 1928 in Forest City, Pennsylvania, USA, a small town northeast of Scranton. His father, Ondrej, came from the Austria-Hungary Empire (now Slovakia) in 1912, and sent for his mother, Julia Zavacky Warhola, in 1921. His father worked as a construction worker and later as a coal miner. Around some time, the family moved to Pittsburgh. During his teenage years, Andy suffered from several nervous breakdowns. Overcoming this, he graduated from Schenley High School in Pittsburgh in 1945, and enrolled in the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie-Mellon University), graduating in June 1949. During college, he met Philip Pearlstein, a fellow student. After graduation, Andy Warhol (having dropped the letter 'a' from his last name) moved to New York City, and shared an apartment with Pearlstein at St. Mark's Place off of Avenue A for a couple months. During this time, he moved in and out of several Manhattan apartments. In New York, he met Tina Fredericks, art editor of Glamour Magazine. Warhol's early jobs were doing drawings for Glamour, such as the Success is a Job in New York, and women's shoes. He also drew advertising for various magazines, including Vogue, Harper's Bazzar, book jackets, and holiday greeting cards.
During the 1950s, he moved to an apartment on East 75th Street. His mother moved in with him, and Fritizie Miller become his agent. In 1952, his first solo exhibition was held at Hugo Gallery, New York, of drawings to illustrate stories by Truman Capote. He started illustrating books, beginning with Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Book of Etiquette. Around 1953-1955, he worked for a theater group on the Lower East Side, and designs sets. It is around that time that he dyed his hair silver. Warhol published several books, including Twenty Five Cats Named Sam, and One Blue Pussy. In 1956, he traveled around the world with Charles Lisanby, a television-set designer. In April of this year, he was included in his first group exhibition, Recent Drawings USA, held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. He began receiving accolades for his work, with the 35th Annual Art Directors Club Award for Distinctive Merit, for an I.Miller shoe advertisement. He published In The Bottom Of My Garden later that year. In 1957, received 36th Annual Art Directors Club Medal and Award of Distinctive Merit, for the I.Miller show advertisements, and Life Magazine published his illustrations for an article, "Crazy Golden Slippers".
In 1960, Warhol began to make his first paintings. They were based on comic strips in the likes of Dick Tracy, Popeye, Superman, and two of Coca-Cola bottles. In 1961, using the Dick Tracy comic strip, he designed a window display for Lord & Taylor, at this time, major art galleries around the nation begin noticing his work. In 1962, Warhol made paintings of dollar bills and Campbell soup cans, and his work was included in an important exhibition of pop art, The New Realists, held at Sidney Janis Gallery, New York. In November of this year, Elanor Ward showed his paintings at Stable Gallery, and the exhibition began a sensation. In 1963, he rented a studio in a firehouse on East 87th Street. He met his assistant, Gerard Malanga, and started making his first film, Tarzan and Jane Regained... Sort of (1964). Later, he drove to Los Angeles for his second exhibition at the Ferus Gallery. In November of that year, he found a loft at 231 East 47th Street, which became his main studio, The Factory. In December, he began production of Red Jackie, the first of the Jackie series. In 1964, his first solo exhibition in Europe, held at the Galerie Ileana Sonnebend in Paris, featured the Flower series. He received a commission from architect Philip Johnson to make a mural, entitled Thirteen Most Wanted Men for the New York State Pavilion in the New York World's Fair. In April, he received an Independent Film Award from Film Culture magazine. In November, his first solo exhibition in the US was held at Leo Castelli Gallery. And at this time, he began his self portrait series.
In the summer of 1965, Andy Warhol met Paul Morrissey, who became his advisor and collaborator. His first solo museum exhibition was held at the Institute of Contempary Art, at the University of Pennsylvania. During this year, he made a surprise announcement of his retirement from painting, but it was to be short lived. He would resume painting again in 1972. It was around this time that he met Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Maureen Tucker (collectively known as The Velvet Underground), and a German-born model turned chanteuse called Nico. He paired Nico with the Velvets, and they developed a close bond with Warhol. This was an alliance that forever changed the face of world culture. Warhol produced the group's first album, The Velvet Underground and Nico, which has been called "the most influential record ever" by many critics. Later, a multimedia show developed (called The Exploding Plastic Inevitable), managed, and produced by Warhol, featuring the Velvet Underground.
In the summer of 1966, Warhol's film Chelsea Girls (1966) became the first underground film to be shown at a commercial theater. In 1967, Chelsea Girls opened in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and six of his Self Portraits were shown at Expo 67 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. In August of this year, he gave a lecture at various colleges in the Los Angeles area, his persona is so popular that some colleges hire Allen Midgette to impersonate him for lectures. Later, Warhol moved The Factory to 33 Union Square West, and met Fred Hughes, who later became President of Enterprises, and Interview Magazine. In 1968, Warhol's first solo European museum exhibition was held at Moderna Musset, Stockholm. But later that year on June 3, 1968, Warhol was shot by Valerie Solanas, an ultra-radical and member of the entourage surrounding Warhol. Solanis was the founder of SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men) Fortunately, Warhol survived the assassination attempt after spending two months in a hospital. This incident is the subject of the film, I Shot Andy Warhol (1996). Afterwards, Andy Warhol dropped out of the filmmaking business, but now and then continued his contribution to film and art. He never emotionally recovered from his brush with death.
During the 1970s and 80s, Andy Warhol's status as a media icon skyrocketed, and he used his influence to back many younger artists. He began publishing of Interview magazine, with the first issue being released in fall of 1969. In 1971, his play, entitled Pork, opened at London at the Round House Theatre. He resumed painting in 1972, although it was primarily celebrity portraits. The Factory was moved to 860 Broadway, and in 1975, he bought a house on Lexington Street. A major retrospective of his work is held in Zurich. In 1976, he did the Skulls, and Hammer and Sickle series. Throughout the late 70s and 80s, a retrospective exhibition was held, as Warhol began work on the Reversals, Retrospectives, and Shadows series. The Myths series, Endangered Species series, and Ads series followed through the early and mid 1980s. On 22 February 1987, a "day of medical infamy", as quoted by one biographer, Andy Warhol died following complications from gall bladder surgery. He was 58 years old.
The son of Ruthenian immigrants, Andy Warhol studied art at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. He worked as an advertising designer before becoming, in effect, the Father of Pop Art with his silk-screened pictures of Campbell's Soup cans and distorted images of Marilyn Monroe. He started directing films in 1963, if "directing" is the right word - most of his early work simply consisted of pointing the camera at something (a man asleep, the Empire State Building) and leaving it running, often for hours. His films gradually grew more sophisticated, with scripts and soundtracks, although they were generally performed by members of the Warhol "factory" - assorted groupies with little acting talent.
After a near-fatal shooting by an unstable fan on June 3, 1968, Warhol retired from direct involvement in filmmaking, and under former assistant Paul Morrissey, the Warhol films became increasingly commercial. Warhol spent the 1970s and 1980s as a major pop culture figure, constantly attending parties and providing patronage to younger artists. He died in 1987 after a routine gallbladder operation at age 58.
Wore a wig most of the time in public
Blond, spiky hair, black leather and white shirts.
Always had a camera and a tape recorder whenever he talked to someone.
1984: He and Don Monroe directed music video "Hello Again" for The Cars. He also appeared in it, playing The Bartender.
Interred at St. John the Baptist Catholic Cemetery, Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, USA.
Pictured on a USA 37¢ commemorative postage stamp issued 9 August 2002.
"Produced" The Velvet Underground's first album, essentially lending his name to their work and observing them in the recording studio, while Lou Reed and later Tom Wilson (who'd worked earlier with Bob Dylan) mostly called the shots. The cover of their first album (with Nico) was Warhol's design; a picture of a banana, whose peel was actually a peelable sticker!
Is credited with coining the term "superstar."
When guesting on "The Love Boat" (1977), he was nervous about the experience and turned to his castmate (and muse for the particular episode) Marion Ross, who calmed him down and offered some advice on how to act.
Was a frequent guest at the infamous "Studio 54"
Avoided the subject of death, except in his paintings (the Disaster series). He did not attend the funerals of his superstars nor did he attend his mother's funeral when she died in November 1972. After she passed away he continued to give the impression that she was still alive to people who would ask about her. Warhol did not mention his mother's death to any of his close friends. As late as 1976, when friends asked about his mother, Andy said, 'Oh, she's great. But she doesn't get out of bed much."
His father, who traveled much on business trips, died when Warhol was 13.
Son of Czech immigrants, his original name was "Warhola"
Warhol's "A: A Novel," published in 1968, is based on 24 hours of tape recordings (24 one-hour tapes) of Ondine speaking. His tape-recorded musings were transcribed and typed up and serve as the basis of the novel, which was disingenuously presented as one day in the life of Ondine. The book is one of the premier artifacts of the Pop art movement/Pop culture. Warhol followed Ondine around New York City with a tape recorder, recording their conversations. Ondine was addicted to amphetamines and was prone to wild verbal flights that covered many subjects. To type up the tapes, Warhol hired teenage girls, some of whom were barely literate and made many errors. Warhol "edited" the resulting manuscript during a series of concerts given by The Velvet Underground (Lou Reed is one of the "characters" in the novel), sitting in the rear of the theater in the dark, reading proof sheets with a flashlight. Like James Joyce when confronted with transcription errors made by the French printers/compositors of the first edition of "Ulysses" (1922), Warhol loved the mistakes and decided to keep them in. He thought the mistakes improved the book as it made it worse, more of a Pop manifesto, and insisted that all the errata be left in the final draft, which he fancied as a Pop "Finnegans Wake." In his later book/memoir "Popism," Warhol explained, "I wanted to do a 'bad book' just the way I'd done 'bad movies' and 'bad art,' because when you do something exactly wrong, you always turn up something." Warhol, the author, refused to filter out the "background noise" or "static," thus preventing the reader from following a coherent narrative thread. The book intentionally is boring, as are many of Warhol's films. Of his films Warhold said that talking about them was more interesting than actually viewing them, and this likely was his intent with "A: A Novel" -- to create an artifact that made people talk about it -- and think.
Godfather of Bijou Phillips.
An astute businessman in the art world, he left an estate worth $500 million when he died.
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 873-876. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.
His nephew, James Warhola, wrote and illustrated a children's book titled, Uncle Andy's. It is about a little boy who visits his famous uncle in New York City.
His brother owned a junkyard in upstate New York. Periodically his brother would bring him odd scraps of junk which Warhol would use in his art.
I would rather watch somebody buy their underwear than read a book they wrote.
In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.
I am a deeply superficial person.
Success is when the checks don't bounce.
I'd prefer to remain a mystery. I never like to give my background and, anyway, I make it all up different every time I'm asked. It's not just that it's part of my image not to tell everything, it's just that I forget what I said the day before, and I have to make it all up over again.
Business art is the step that comes after art. I started as a commercial artist, and I want to finish as a business artist. After I did the thing called "art" or whatever it's called, I went into business art. I wanted to be an Art Businessman or a Business Artist. Being good in business in the most fascinating kind of art.
Of course what I think is boring must not be the same as what other people think is, since I could never stand to watch all the most popular action shows on TV, because they're essentially the same plots and the same shots and the same cuts over and over again. Apparently, most people love watching the same basic thing, as long as the details are different. But I'm just the opposite: if I'm going to sit and watch the same thing I saw the night before, I don't want it to be essentially the same - I want it to be exactly the same. Because the more you look at the same exact thing, the more the meaning goes away, and the better and emptier you feel.
My idea of a good picture is one that's in focus and of a famous person.
Sex is the biggest nothing of all time.
Our movies may have looked like home movies, but then our home wasn't like anybody else's.
(revising his earlier quote, during the Disco era) In fifteen minutes, everyone will be famous.
(his advice about audiences, to The Velvet Underground) Always leave them wanting less.
Living in New York City gives people real incentives to want things that nobody else wants.
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