Biography

Andy Warhol (1928 Pittsburgh - New York 1987) is considered one of the founders of Pop Art and the prototype of the artist who becomes an art object himself. He was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, as the son of an immigrant family from Slovakia. As a child he had to stay in bed for a long time because of an illness and during this time he developed his enthusiasm for media, especially for comics and films. He also began to amass an archive of photos and newspaper clippings during this time, which he used, among other things, as models for his silkscreen prints. From 1945 to 1949, he trained as a commercial artist at the Carnegie Institute for Technology in Pittsburgh, earning a degree in painting and design. He then moved to New York and worked as a commercial artist. His work was exhibited in a gallery in 1952 and at MoMA in 1956. In 1962 he turned to silkscreen printing, transferring this printing technique from applied graphics to art. He often placed the objects serially next to each other; he saw an attraction of screen printing precisely in the duplication. He used advertisements and newspaper pages as motifs, but also templates from classical art. This resulted in pictures with 30 Mona Lisa portraits or 32 soup cans. He considered high and popular culture as well as advertisements to be of equal importance in his work. In his quotes, he refers to his working method of repetition when he says "I love doing the same thing over and over." His interest in film led to prints with motifs of actors, such as Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor, or stars like Elvis Presley. By repeating and lining up depictions of people, he created 20th century icons on the one hand, as they became ubiquitous in every form of medium. But he also showed the dark side of the entertainment industry: the marketing of the stars and their position as an economic product. In addition to paintings in various techniques, his work also includes objects, books and films. He was also active as a music producer. Warhol claimed of his art that it had no depth and that he, too, was rather one-dimensional as a character ("What you see is what you see"). One of his statements about his art was, "If you want to know everything about Andy Warhol, all you have to do is look at the surface, that of my paintings and films and me, and that's me. There's nothing behind it.“ Thus he stylized himself as a Pop Art product, the human being Warhol visibly disappeared behind the staging. Despite this propagated superficiality, he deals in his artworks with socio-political themes and the negative sides of the social fabric, thus his work does have meaning. His preoccupation with theology and the art of the old masters can be seen in his silkscreen series on Leonardo's "Last Supper" or Botticelli's "Birth of Venus. His works were in turn taken up in the media and advertising and ensured Warhol's posthumous fame; the images themselves became icons of Pop Art and popular culture. Warhol died in 1987 from complications of an operation.


Objects by Andy Warhol