* 1928 Pittsburgh
† 1987 New York
The American Pop-Artist Andy Warhol was born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 6, 1928 as the son of Czechoslovakian immigrants. At first he does an apprenticeship as a window dresser before he studies art history, pictorial design, sociology and psychology at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh from 1945-1949. Afterwards he moves to New York where he calls himself Andy Warhol.
Up until 1960 he works as a free-lance advertising designer for fashion magazines, as illustrator and also as window dresser. The Art Directors Club awards him two medals for his design of newspaper ads in 1952 and 1957. Andy Warhols first exhibition "Fifteen Drawings Based on the Writings of Truman Capote" takes places in the Hugo Gallery in 1952.
The first series of "Campbell's soups" and "Coca Cola bottles" is made in 1962 as well as silk-screens with a dollar bill as the motif. His studio, where he works together with many friends and assistants, is called the "Factory". His art is coined by the usage of popular motifs or symbols from everyday American culture, he also employs mechanical-serial production techniques, a method that had always been regarded as inartistic.
Andy Warhol partakes in the exhibition "The New Realists" in New York in 1962. The same year his choice of motif starts to get gloomier. He creates series with images of death and disaster. He depicts airplane crashes, accidents, crime, nuclear bomb explosions and the like in screen printing technique, consciously choosing the bad image quality of the newspaper print. Another way of expressing criticism for consumer culture are his cardboard and wooden sculptures that exactly imitate commercial packages. His works have a major impact on Pop-Art.
In the 1960s Andy Warhol begins to deal with the medium film. He develops his own esthetic by means of simple techniques, long, static shots and doing without cut. The silent films "Sleep", "Kiss" and "Eat" were made in 1963 and "Empire" in 1964. The following films are also shown at the Cannes Festival, such as "Chelsea Girl" from 1966. He also works on shows for nightclub gigs with the rock band "Velvet Underground" as of 1968.
In den 1970s Andy Warhol conveys Polaroid photos of famous people onto canvas by means of the screen printing technique, among them are portraits of "Elvis Presley" (1964), "Jackie Kennedy" (1965), "Marilyn Monroe" (1967) and "Mao Tse Tung" (1972).
Andy Warhol is shot and severely injured by Valerie Solanas in 1968. He works on projects together with artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Francesco Clemente in 1984.
Andy Warhol dies in New York on February 22, 1987.