American painter, printmaker, photographer, filmmaker, writer, publisher, commercial artist, and illustrator who first gained recognition with his imaginative advertising designs for elite clients such as Tiffany & Company, retailer Henri Bendel, and I. Miller shoes. Warhol ultimately became one of the most famous figures of the 20th century, renowned as much for the persona he created as for his multiple original silk-screen images of common supermarket products, front-page news events, and celebrity icons such as Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline Kennedy, Elvis Presley, Marlon Brando, and Elizabeth Taylor. Mitchell,2-3)
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However, there were many critics who did not believe that what Warhol did was art. Some were rather confused and outraged, and questioning whether or not pictures of Campbell’s soup can, Brillo boxes, comic strip characters, was art. When Andy Warhol’s works first showed up in galleries in the early 1960s people were irritated, because people thought of art as Picasso or Van Gough, and they had not explored the world modern art. But others found his paintings amusing and meaningful.
Because Warhol glorified popular culture with realistic depictions of everyday objects, his work was called “pop art. (Grolier Online)In this paper I will argue that as time progresses, people like Andy Warhol are a necessity to our society so that we can open our eyes to something we have never seen before, no matter how the media critiques it. Andy Warhol did just that, and that is why he is a major icon of pop art/culture. Andy Warhol was born Andrew Warhola, a son of Slovakian immigrants, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 6, 1928. He was a weak child, and inflexible fever left him with the pale, blemished skin that, along with the shaggy white wigs he wore to hide his thinning hair, contributed to his distinctive looks.
If you ever look at images of Andy Warhol, it is very clear that he was very different and that he had something unique about himself. His illnesses sometime forced him to be bed-ridden, and also made him an outcast in school, and created a very strong with his mother. When in bed he used to draw, listen to the radio and collect pictures of movie stars around his bed. After showing an early sign of artistic ability, he attended the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh to study commercial art.
After graduating in 1949, he moved to New York City, where his success as a ommercial artist was immediate. In the 1950’s, he fame developed for his whimsical ink drawings of shoe advertisements. Andy Warhol’s first New York solo pop art exhibition was hosted at Eleanor Ward’s Stable Gallery November 6–24, 1962. The exhibit included the works Marilyn Diptych, 100 Soup Cans, 100 Coke Bottles and 100 Dollar Bills. His work became popular, and the more attention that he got, the more controversial his works became. (Mitchell 2-3) Art historians, even today, still dispute the significance of the Warhol legacy.
For example in 1995, Warhol was issued in a poll which asked who were the most over or under rated artists of the century. Andrew ? Graham-Dixon, chief art critic for The Independent, London, irritably says that the attention Warhol receives is exaggerated far past his importance: “I don’t ? know why I keep hearing about Warhol shows. We don’t need forty exhibitions ? explaining what he did. . . if you can’t see it, you’re dumb,” where as Mark Stevens, another art critic, also adds that Warhol was the most over and underrated artist of the century.
Graham-Dixon’s irritation and Stevens’ doubt represent ideas that ? control the criticism of Warhol. The enormous opposing array of ? criticism show that Warhol’s artistic statement struck a ? nerve, raised appealing issues that still shock the historians/art critics, and clearly shows what kind of an important role Warhol played in art history. (Pratt xviii) “Public fascination with Warhol revolved around two questions: Why is he doing this? And how is he getting away with it? ” (Harron) Warhol’s work on the soup cans portrayed everything that was trashy and overexposed in American life.
By bringing the supermarket into the art gallery, pop art rejected all main values about what was good or bad, beautiful or ugly, art or non-art. The public perceived him, in a way, as a hustler. And in a way, he was. He manipulated the media and put it into his work as a statement. This completely depicted the whole idea of modern/contemporary art. That’s all Warhol was trying to show. “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. ” (Mitchell,3) This quote describes his character, attitude, and how he knew what to say so that his work was illustrated in the positive direction.
In 1964, Warhol held an exhibit called “ the American Supermarket,” which had everything from produce goods to canned goods, basically everything you can see at a deli. At that time his painting was going for $1,500. This exhibit was of the first mass events, which raised a question of what is art? and what is not art? The fact that people, aside from critics, took him into consideration was absolutely phenomenal. People were fascinated, not just by the fact that he had people’s attention to repeat pictures of a soup can, but because of the fact that he had the idea to create repetition into a form of art.
Aside from critics, there were people who were not so simple-minded and saw what Warhol was trying to do and saw it as a form of art. People were drawn to his attitude. He would say things like, “In the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes. ” “Business is the best art. ” “I love Hollywood. It’s plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic. ” “We’re a vacuum here at the Factory. I think it’s great. ” (Mitchell, 5) “The Factory” was his art studio in New York City, where he was trying to increase productivity on factory art and silkscreen paintings. This showed that pop art was all about fun.
By the end of the decade, the drug-crazed Factory scene, with its cast of misfits, bred disaster. In 1968 Valerie Solanis, a deranged writer, stepped off the elevator and shot Warhol. Warhol never entirely recovered from the life-threatening wounds, and at the Factory he no longer tolerated carefree 1960s eccentricities. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s Warhol devoted himself to “Interview”, the celebrity magazine he founded; to writing (The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again, 1975); and to commission society portraits based on Polaroid photographs.
Although there was talk of a decline in his work of this period, his prolific output was still punctuated by adventuresome experimentation as seen in his Oxidation Paintings of the late 1970s, works of strange, ethereal beauty made by urinating on copper-paint-coated canvas. (5-6) By this time he was not just a celebrity or artist, he was household name. Andy Warhol had passed away on February 22, 1987, in New York City, because of complication after surgery. (Mitchell,5-5) No matter what critics have to say, he is still remembered and looked upon, even 20 years after his death.
Andy Warhol had created a world of modern art, something people have never seen before. In recent news, his painting of the Campbell’s soup was sold for $100 million. Over achievement is an understatement, because painters like Picasso were amongst the only artists to ever sell a painting for $100 million. Twenty years after his death, we still commemorate his artistic talent and great ability to show us something that others would be afraid to express. Two museums are dedicated to Warhol. The Andy Warhol Museum, one of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.
It is the largest American art museum dedicated to a single artist, holding more than 12,000 works by the artist. (Mitchell, 6) Largely, Andy Warhol was an innovator, a liberator, and to most, an absolute genius. It was clear that critics such as Graham-Dixon, were highly mistaken, because Warhol exhibits were on high demand, and now his work is being sold for millions of dollars. Andy Warhol will for ever stay legacy because he opened up many doors for future generations and allowed artists to be who ever they want to be.
One phenomenon that is a majorly inspired by Warhol is Lady GaGa, who is very open about her love for Warhol. She’s successful because she does what she wants, and critics will never stop her.