Andy Warhol (August 6, 1928 — February 22, 1987) was a visual artist, filmmaker, producer, printmaker, icon, author, part-time model and clothing designer.
Born Andrew Warhola, Jr. in Pittsburgh to Rusynnote -American parents, Andy Warhol was a sickly child and often hospitalized. He developed a phobia of hospitals and was pathologically shy. Interested in drawing, he had a lot of time to practice. He went to art school and moved to New York. He started in commercial art illustration, but radically changed his style. Andy became famous for his hyper-saturated representations of everyday items, adhering to the concept that the everyday is beautiful. Famous pieces include Campbell's Soup Cans, Marilyn Diptych and Elvis.
Andy founded The Factory: a menagerie of his friends, drag queens, musicians, sexual radicals, models, drug dealers, free-thinkers and other oddities. Many of the "Warhol Superstars" including Edie Sedgwick, Betsey Johnson and Gerard Malanga went on to become stars in their individual fields. Other Factory regulars included Salvador Dalí, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Mick Jagger, Truman Capote and The Velvet Underground.
Things changed when Valerie Solanas shot Warhol. Warhol survived the shooting but the event had a permanent effect on his life and work. He said of the shooting,
After that, The Factory was finished. In the 70's, Warhol did portraits commissioned by Michael Jackson, Liza Minnelli, and John Lennon among others. In the 80's Warhol collaborated with younger artists. He died in '87, after delaying a check up on a gallbladder issue due to his phobia of hospitals.
Warhol's notable works include:
- "Campbell's Soup Cans" (sometimes "32 Campbell's Soup Cans"), a series of paintings which consisted of 32 different cans of Campbell's Soup, each of a different variety.
- "Marilyn Diptych", his most famous work besides the Soup Cans, consisting of 50 repetitions of a publicity still of Marilyn Monroe, with one half in color, the other in steadily decaying black and white; made two weeks after her death, probably as a meditation on celebrity deaths.
Warhol made a series of films between 1963 and 1969, which include:
- Empire, a 485 minute shot of the Empire State Building.
- Taylor Mead's Ass, a 70 minute, somewhat sarcastic response to one critic who complained about "films focusing on Taylor Mead's ass for two hours."
- Vinyl, one of the only Warhol-directed films with a plot: A very very loose adaption of A Clockwork Orange (predating the Stanley Kubrick movie by about 6 years), done in a single almost-continuous shot.
- Chelsea Girls, a somewhat unusual experiment consisting of two sets of sketches, presented side by side, one in color, the other in black and white. Co-directed by Paul Morrissey.
Films associated with Warhol
Paul Morrissey wrote and directed two films, produced by Warhol (some claim that Warhol's involvement only amounted to allowing his name to be used):
- Flesh for Frankenstein, released in the US as "Andy Warhol's Frankenstein"
- Blood for Dracula, released in the US as "Andy Warhol's Dracula"
Works about Warhol include:
- Scenes From The Life Of Andy Warhol 1990 Film by Jonas Mekas
- I Shot Andy Warhol 1996 Film
- Songs For Drella 1990 album by Lou Reed and John Cale
- Superstar: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol 1996 Documentary by Chuck Workman
Works where Andy Warhol appears as a character include:
- A robot Warhol with a technological copy of his personality was the viewpoint character in an issue of Neil Gaiman's run on Marvelman.
- Cocaine Cowboys (1979) — Warhol appears As Himself.
- The Doors (1991) — Played by Crispin Glover.
- Basquiat (1996) — Played by David Bowie.
- Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) — Played by Mark Bringelson.
- 54 (1998) — Played by Sean Sullivan.
- Factory Girl (2006) — Played by Guy Pearce. note
- Watchmen (2009) — Played by Greg Travis in the opening credits.
- Men in Black 3 (2012) — Played by Bill Hader.
- "Andy Warhol's Dracula", an Anno Dracula novella by Kim Newman. (See below for the Real Life Warhol-associated work this refers to.)
- The Love Boat. Yes, you read that right. He appeared as himself on an episode of The Love Boat. Think about it.
- Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy has an inexplicably robotic Warhol as Noel's cleaner.
- Vinyl note
- An occasional offscreen character in Mad Men, as Peggy occasionally interacts with the early Factory through her artier friends.
- The seventh episode of American Horror Story: Cult deals with the assassination attempt by Valerie Solanas.
- Jackie O 1997
- The Sims. In The Sims 1: Superstar expansion, Warhol is depicted as the main photographer.
- Futurama, "All The President's Heads"
"In the future, these tropes will be famous for 15 minutes":
- Asexuality: Often speculated, but the more general consensus is that he was homosexual. He may, however, have been a virgin.
- The Burlesque of Venus: Birth of Venus
- Cloudcuckoolander: Hoo boy.
- Cool Old Guy: One of the most influential artists in history.
- Collector of the Strange: Cookie jars, wigs, and other various items.
- Crazy-Prepared: Taped an episode of the game show High Rollers in 1975- back when video recorders and tapes were prohibitively expensive, and NBC was still erasing their tapes of non-primetime shows.
- Dead Baby Comedy: Literally, in Andy Warhol's Bad
- Documentary: 1990's Superstar: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol
- Eccentric Artist: Read a biography on Andy Warhol. ANY biography.
- Erotic Eating: He did an entire film of a drag queen eating a banana. It can be seen here.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Taylor Mead's Ass.
- Fanservice: One of his "screen tests" starring Baby Jane Holzer was four minutes of erotic toothbrushing. Yes, you heard that right. And it's obvious what it's meant to look like, too. May be the Ur-Example of "porn", while quite mainstream by today's standards (especially considering the stuff you can find on YouTube), for its time it was unique.
- Genius Sweet Tooth: He claimed at times to eat only candy. He was also fond of visiting bakeries, sometimes buying entire birthday cakes for himself.
- Hated Hometown: At least according to the quotes in the Lou Reed song Smalltown."There's no Michelangelo coming from Pittsburgh."
- Hidden Depths: Warhol created a large number of religious-themed paintings, found only after his death, which he never publicly displayed or marketed as he considered them works of personal devotion. Though it may seem surprising, Warhol was a devout Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic for his entire life, attending Mass (though not taking communion) almost daily and even (according to his priest) making a few converts. (He reported feeling a little awkward at the Latin-Rite Church he attended in Manhattanall the Ruthenian and Byzantine Rite churches around NYC being in the outer boroughs or in New Jerseynot because of his fame or his work but because he observed Eastern Catholic customs, particularly making the sign of the cross right-to-left.) He also volunteered in homeless shelters, and took great pride in funding his nephew's studies for the priesthood.
- In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: Andy Warhol's Dracula and Andy Warhol's Bad.
- In Name Only:"Andy Warhol's Dracula" and "Andy Warhol's Frankenstein". He had almost nothing to do with them.
- Le Film Artistique: Nearly all of his films fall under this category.
- Leave the Camera Running: So, so many of his films. Notoriously, eight hours of the Empire State Building were filmed because he just liked to "watch time go by".
- The Muse: Most consider his to have been Edie Sedgwick.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: In the Preston & Child novels, Agent Pendergast's looks are often compared with Warhol's. Such comparisons weren't made of Mason Eckhart in Mutant X — but he's pretty transparently an eeeevil Andy Warhol.
- Postmodernism: Was one of the primary influences.
- Shout-Out: He made several paintings of Hergé and met the man in person, naming him as much an influence on his work as Walt Disney: "For me, Hergé was more than a comic strip artist. He had great political and satirical dimensions".
- Take That!: The film Taylor Mead's Ass was made after a critic said of another one of Andy's films that "... people don't want to see an hour and a half of Taylor Mead's ass". Taylor Mead's Ass was exactly that.
- Ur-Example: Many of his films are this of trends that wouldn't emerge until the advent of the internet, for example Jane Holzer's screen test of erotic toothbrushing looks like a very early example of the sexy things put on YouTube that since they don't fall under the porn umbrella at worst face age-restriction.
- Virgin Sacrifice: Seen in Andy Warhol's Dracula.
- The Wonka: Just read an interview with him. The founder of the Factory was an oddball leader.
- Some claim his public behavior was a giant Stealth Parody.