Andy Warhol was a 1960s pop icon famous for his extravagant persona and attention grabbing artworks such as his famous Campbell’s Soup painting. Warhol was one of the central players in a powerful wave of art and music that swept over our planet in the 1960s and 70s – looking into his life gives a fascinating snapshot of this period.
- Andy Warhol’s birth name was Andrew Warhola. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1928, his parents, Ondrej and Julia were immigrants from Miková in northeastern Slovakia.
- His very first movie was called ‘Sleep’ and it was 6 hour long never ending masterpiece of his friend sleeping. Nine people attended premiere. Seven of them stayed and watched the movie. Two of them left within the first hour. He created at least 60 movies including Kiss, Blowjob, Eat, Shoulder, Couch, Face, Kitchen, Horse, Suicide, Drink, Closet, Sunset, and Bitch.
- Andy almost died when he was shot three times in the chest by Valerie Solanis. Valerie was an ardent feminist and one of many who thought Warhol was abusive and controlling. She thought that he deserved to die. Warhol was at one point pronounced dead, but was revived and slowly recovered. Valerie was a founder of club called SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men) and she was the only member of the group.
- He died in hospital on February 22nd, 1987 from a heart attack because hospital stuff overloaded him with fluids after his routine gallbladder surgery. Warhol is buried at St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cemetery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After his death the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts was founded.
- Andy was the producer of the first record album by The Velvet Underground . He also painted the cover of their first album, entitled ‘The Velvet Underground and Nico’. Many of the songs were considered daring, shocking, and kinky.
- In 1957 Warhol won the prestigious Art Director’s Club Medal for a shoe advertisement. Warhol went to New York City after earning a BFA degree from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, in 1949. He began designing in advertisements and went on to specialize in illustrating shoes.
- Although he worked in a number of media his most famous works were created using silkscreen and lithography. When he had achieved some fame, Andy began to use silkscreen to create his art and to mass-produce images. His 1973 portrait of Mao is one of the best known examples of his use of this process.
- After Warhol’s death a music album was made titled, “Songs for Drella”. This was a nickname coined by his music friends which was a combination of Dracula and Cinderella. After Andy’s death, Lou Reed’s band dedicated the “Songs for Drella” album to Andy, that he would never be forgotten. Bob Dylan’s song, “Like a Rolling Stone” is reputed to have been about Andy. Dylan blamed Warhol for drug use by Edie Sedgewicks, a love interest of Dylan’s at the time.
- Andy would claim, “If you want to know all about me, just look at the surface of my paintings and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it.”
- In addition to creating art, Warhol started Interview magazine, opened a night club and created two cable TV shows-Andy Warhol’s TV and Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes- for MTV.
- Warhol had an interesting sense of style; he wore silver wigs and eventually dyed his hair silver. After having been told he had lazy eyes, he wore opaque glasses that had a tiny pinhole for him to see through.
- In high school, the art club excluded Warhol because he was better than the other members.
This article was researched from a number of online resources. If you would like to learn more about the chronology and details of Andy Warhol’s life there is a fantastic resource at warholstars.org. Flipping through this gave me a great background on some of the 60’s and 70’s art and music legends and how their lives intersected.