Artist of Week 12: Andy Warhol

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Andy Warhol was an American artist who was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 6, 1928, and died on February 22, 1987 at the age of 58.  A lot of his works explored the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture, and advertisements that flourished during the 1960s.  He started of his career as a successful commercial illustrator, he became a renowned but sometimes controversial artist.  His art used a lot of different types of media, including printmaking, painting, photography, film, music, etc.  In Pittsburgh, his hometown, he has a whole museum dedicated to him, called the Andy Warhol Museum.  It is the largest museum dedicated to one person.

Andy Warhol was not a one-dimensional artist.  He played around with a lot of different types of media.  He was a pioneer in computer-generated art by using Amiga computers that were introduced in 1984.  He also founded Interview Magazine, and was also the author of numerous books.  He also managed and produced the Velvet Underground, a rock band that had a strongly influenced the evolution of punk rock music.  He was also notably known as an openly gay man before the gay liberation movement.  His studio, The Factory, was a famous gathering place that gathered distinguished intellectuals, drag queens, Bohemian street people, Hollywood celebrities, etc.

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Before this week, I had already known a bit about Andy Warhol.  He is the only artist of the week who’s name I have heard of somewhere.  He is also famous for making more pieces of art than any other artist in history.  Warhol is also known for coining the phrase “15 minutes of fame.”  Some his films show something very simple, such as someone sleeping, but he depicts it as a form of art, and it turns out to be beautiful.  Some of his other pieces of art have sold for a lot, including a 1963 canvas called Silver Car Crash, which sold for $105 million.  His paintings are some of the most expensive ever sold.

Andy Warhol received some criticism for not being original, and doing “lazy art.”  I think that although he may have built some of his work off some other things, I think that his art is iconic because I have seen some of them before.  I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the can of Campbell’s soup because of Warhol.  I think he was one of the more interesting artists we’ve had and I’m glad he was our last artist of the week.

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