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, Yves Saint Laurent 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 and began exploring the artistic possibilities of computers, even endorsing the Commodore Amiga. He died in 1987, 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. No, he wasn't an alien, but he was an undercover MIB agent who hated the assignment and begs K to get him reassigned. The famous soup cans came about because he was apparently running out of ideas.
- Yves Saint Laurent (2014) — Played by William Abello in a non-speaking role
- Saint Laurent (2014) — Played by Benjamin Crotty
- "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.
- David Bowie's "Andy Warhol" is an ode to the artist, right down to the name.
- Lou Reed and John Cale's 1990 collaborative album Songs for Drella is a Rock Opera about Warhol's life and career, written in the wake of his death. Most of the album is sung from Warhol's point of view, him having mentored both musicians during their time in The Velvet Underground.
- Warhol directed the video for The Cars' "Hello Again", where he cameos as a bartender.
- It's hinted in Safe Havens that 'Andy Warhol' is one of the many identities Leonardo da Vinci assumes-or, technically, will assume-to release more of his work to the public. This is possible thanks to his Time Travel abilities.
- Jackie O 1997
- The Sims. In The Sims 1: Superstar expansion, Warhol is depicted as the main photographer.
- Futurama, "All The President's Heads"
- The Simpsons, Homer has a dream where he is attacked by works of art. Andy Warhol pelts him with soup cans.
"In the future, these tropes will be famous for 15 minutes":
- In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: Andy Warhol's Dracula and Andy Warhol's Bad.
- "The Scream" Parody: One of his paintings was a silk screen print that imitated the painting, titled The Scream (After Munch).