Born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1928, Andy Warhol is perhaps the most celebrated and recognisable artist of the 20th Century. A painter, printmaker and filmmaker, Warhol came to prominence as the leading figure of the Pop Art movement of the 1960s and has since been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions, books, and both feature and documentary films.
Warhol’s first solo exhibition was at the Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles and marked the West Coast debut of Pop Art. His subjects included iconic American products including Campbell’s Soup Cans and Coca-Cola bottles as well as paintings of celebrities including Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali. Around this time Warhol founded ‘The Factory’, a production studio that would become a popular hangout for other artists, writers, musicians and underground celebrities.
“What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coca-Cola, Liz Taylor drinks Coca-Cola, and just think, you can drink Coca-Cola, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the cokes are the same and all the cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.”
Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: from A to B and Back Again, 1975
Warhol was a true visionary; his pioneering approach inspired legions of young artists and wherever possible he would champion these emerging practitioners be they painters, musicians or film makers. Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and The Velvet Underground were amongst the artists Warhol helped to introduce to the public and his influence and work ethic is prevalent more so now than ever through contemporary artists including Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, Damien Hirst, Takashi Murakami and Banksy.
Warhol’s work is held in prestigious collections the world over and The Andy Warhol Museum in his hometown of Pittsburgh exists in memory of his astonishing life and phenomenal artwork.
Banner image credit: Steve Schapiro
The Life of Andy Warhol (documentary - part one)
The Life of Andy Warhol (documentary - part two)
Andy Warhol on Junk Food, Coca-Cola, Drugs, Painting, God and His Morning Routine