Saturday, November 21, 2009

Andy Warhol (1928-1987)

I decided to post about Andy Warhol for the post-1900 era because there is currently an exhibition ("Big Shots") at the Nasher Museum of Art which includes Warhol polaroids as well as his silkscreen paintings.

Andy Warhol was an American artist who created prints, paintings, sculptures, illustrations, films and writings. He was a leader of the Pop Art movement of the 1960s and his work still influences culture today. Besides his artworks, Warhol is known for his connections with Studio 54 and celebrities of the time. He mixed with a diverse group of people including socialites, artists, street people and musicians. Many of his works give insight on these social circles and also communicate Warhol's philosophies. ("Everyone will be famous for 15 minutes"). Below I discuss different works of Warhol. of Warhol's favorite mediums was polaroid photography. With a polaroid camera Warhol was able to produce portraits immediately and the portraits produced are iconic. In his portraits Warhol was very specific in posing his models in order to portray differest qualities. With women, he would cover them with white powder and bold makeup in order to accentuate their features. He would also ask his female models to remove their top clothing and wear a cloth around themselves. When posing his male models Warhol paid close attention to the hand positioning. Warhol used hands to symbolize manliness and other characteristics and in many of his polaroids of male models the hands look quite awkward. The Warhol exhibit at the Nasher has many examples of Warhol polaroids.
Warhol is very well known for his iconic silkscreen paintings. Perhaps his most well-known silkscreen portrait is of Marilyn Monroe. These paintings revolved around celebrities and bright colors. The paintings were all based on photographs (polaroids) and started off as snapshots.
As I mentioned above, Warhol mingled with many artists, and celebrities. He became the manager of the band The Velvet Underground in 1965 and created this album cover for them. Warhol's status elevated the band's status and this album is well known for it's Warhol artwork. The album originally came with a banana sticker that said "Peel slowly and see" and underneath the sticker was a flesh-toned banana.
This is another example of Warhol's influence on pop culture. Warhol turned a Campbell soup can into art and his painting shows his idea of commercializing art. He repeated the image of the soup can over and over again in mass production and captured the idea of consumerism and commercialization.

Warhol's friends, fame and philosophies all influenced his work. Andy Warhol was born in Pennsylvania on August 6, 1928 and at an early age showed an interest in art and studied commercial art in college in Pennsylvania. He had his first fine art gallery exhibition in LA in 1962 and continued his career in art in Los Angeles as well as New York City. In both cities Warhol befriend all kinds of people, from the homeless to celebrities. In 1968 however, Warhol was victim to an attempted assassination and became a much more closed off person and continued his life more quietly. Warhol died on February 22, 1987 in New York City.

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