Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol

Narrative Bio

Andy Warhol

Born 1928, Pittsburgh, PA

Died 1987, New York

 

Andy Warhol is considered one of the most important figures in post-war art and has had an impact on almost every aspect of the art world. He, along with other pop-artists like Roy Lichtenstein and James Rosenquist, brought the imagery and techniques of mass commercialism into the world of fine arts as well as broke up the stylistic hegemony of Abstract Expressionist painting in the 1960s. While Lichtenstein used hand-painted comics to develop a relationship between art and popular culture, Andy Warhol focused on photography, silkscreen printing, and cinema to push his avant-garde imperatives. Alongside his art, Warhol’s persona and individual celebrity led to a contemporary status unlike any other artist. His studio, the Factory, became a flashpoint for 60’s counterculture, and was frequently visited by musicians and artists such as Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, the Beat Poets, as well as most of the New York visual art world.

 

Warhol’s Silkscreens of the early 1960s are perhaps his best known works. Drawing on themes such as celebrity, death, and commodity culture, the Silkscreens have become seen as metaphors for American culture and the fickle nature of celebrity in a capitalist society. The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Collection’s  Two Marilyns, 1962 and  Twenty Jackies, 1964 are two examples of Warhol’s mixture of techniques of mass reproduction with older, established painting genres of religious icons or portraiture. Warhol’s Marilyns and Jackies are symbols of their time, bound in their representation in media, while their mass reproduction make these works of central importance to discussions of authorship, originality, and the possible end of art.

 

Warhol also used various programs of abstraction in his painting to mimic and comment on art of his era, especially Abstract Expressionism, as in the Foundation’s     Dance Diagram [3] [“The Lindy Tuck-In Turn Man”] , 1962,  Camouflage , 1986, and  Rorschach, 1984, or his famous Shadow Paintings and the Oxidation series.  Dance Diagram  , like the celebrities of the silk-screens, is topical to early 1960s, namely the revival of 1920s and 1930s dance steps like the Charleston and The Lindy Hop. At the same time, however, the work allows a deeper reading, namely the evolving nature of painting as a performative endeavor or, since the painting is displayed on the floor, the changing relationship between painting and sculpture.

 


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