Andy Warhol

Warhol, Andy, 1928–87, American artist and filmmaker, b. Pittsburgh as Andrew Warhola. The leading exponent of the pop art movement and one of the most influential artists of the late 20th cent., Warhol concentrated on the surface of things, choosing his imagery from the world of commonplace objects such as dollar bills, soup cans, soft-drink bottles, and scouring-pad boxes. He is variously credited with ridiculing and celebrating American middle-class values by erasing the distinction between popular and high culture. Monotony and repetition became the hallmarks of his multi-image, mass-produced silk-screen paintings: for many of these, such as the portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Jacqueline Kennedy, he employed newspaper photographs. He and his assistants worked out of a large New York studio dubbed the "Factory." In the mid-1960s Warhol began making films, suppressing the personal element in marathon essays on boredom. For The Chelsea Girls (1966), a largely improvised, voyeuristic look at life in New York's Chelsea Hotel, he also employed split-screen projection techniques that diverged from established methods. Among his later films are Trash (1971) and L'Amour (1973). With Paul Morrissey, Warhol also made the films Frankenstein (1974) and Dracula (1974). In 1973, Warhol launched the magazine Interview, a publication centered on his fascination with the cult of the celebrity. He died from complications following surgery. The Andy Warhol Museum, which exhibits many of his works, opened in Pittsburgh in 1994.

See his autobiographies (1969 and 1971); K. Goldsmith, ed., I'll Be Your Mirror: The Selected Andy Warhol Interviews, 1962–1987 (2004); C. Ratcliff, Andy Warhol (1983); D. Bourdon, Warhol (1989); V. Bockris, Life and Death of Andy Warhol (1989); B. Colacello, Holy Terror (1990); W. Koestenbaum, Andy Warhol (2001); S. Watson, Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties (2004); D. Dalton and T. Scherman, Pop: The Genius of Andy Warhol (2009); A. C. Danto, Andy Warhol (2009).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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