Monday, February 26, 2018

Andy Warhol (by William Yang)

Andy Warhol was born on August 6, 1928, to Slovakian immigrants in a working class neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As a young child, he contracted Chorea, a disease of the nervous system that would frequently keep him at home for months at a time. During these periods, his mother, an artist herself, would give him his first drawing lessons. He went on to experiment with photography and film at a young age, eventually graduating from the Carnegie Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1949. He went on to lead a diverse career, working in commercial art, paintings, portraits, and becoming a leading figure of a new movement called “pop art”.

Campbell's Soup Cans (1962)
Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans paintings are some of the most iconic pieces of the pop art movement. This work was created with the use of synthetic polymer pain across thirty-two canvases. Through these paintings, Warhol not only emphasized icons of popular imagery, but he provided commentary on how people had come to perceive items like these soup cans as ubiquitous commodities, easily identifiable with a simple glance.
Mao Tse Tung (1972)
This is a portrait of Chinese leader Mao made by Warhol in 1972. In contrast to his Campbell’s Soup Cans paintings, Warhol used the photo-silkscreen process, a printmaking technique that would become his signature medium. He was inspired to create this portrait after reading that Mao had become the most famous person in the world at the time. In contrast to some of his previous work, which commented on the mechanism of American capitalism, this work can be interpreted as Warhol’s first political portrait.

Cabbage Patch Doll (1985)
The Cabbage Patch Doll is part of a series of Cabbage Patch Kids drawings that Warhol produced in 1985. This particular drawing was made by pencil on paper, although the series also contains paintings. The drawing is a continuation of Warhol’s commentary on American capitalism, as the Cabbage Patch doll was one of the most popular toys at the time. However, the minimalist style starkly contrasts with his more popular works, bright and vivid in color.

I chose Andy Warhol because of the diversity of techniques and styles he utilized in his work. Upon opening a book with his name on it, I expected to see bright imagery of pop icons. Instead, I was greeted by minimalist sketches of mundane subjects. This led me to further research his work and discover that his work was not limited to just those iconic examples of pop art that are famous worldwide. Rather, he explored the use of various mediums and subject material to make powerful statements about the cultural, economic, and political world around him.

Works Cited
 “Andy Warhol.” The Art Story, The Art Story Foundation, 2018,

“Andy Warhol Biography.” Biography, Bio, 2018,

“Campbell’s Soup Cans.” MoMALearning, MoMA, 2018,

Heymer, Kay, and Vincent Fremont. Andy Warhol’s Small World. Jablonka-Galerie, 2005.

“Mao by Andy Warhol.” Guy Hepner, HuyHepner, 2018,

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