In Pittsburgh/Pennsylvania the SUSI scholars 2012 visited the Andy Warhol museum. I didn’t know who he was, but the fact that the professors of Scripps School of Journalism brought us there made me wonder who this man was. By reading the information on his timeline at the museum I came to know his fame.
Andy Warhol (August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987) was an American artist who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. This kind of art became extremely popular in the second half of the twentieth century. It was a new style of art that began in England in the mid-1950s and consisted of realistic renditions of popular, everyday items. He earned a bachelor of art degree in Fine Arts in pictorial design with the goal of becoming a commercial illustrator. Soon after graduating he moved from Pittsburgh, where he was born, to New York to pursue a career as commercial artist. He became one of the most successful illustrators of the 1950s, winning numerous awards.
In the late 1950s he began to devote more energy to painting. I couldn’t admire his paintings, but still the highest price ever paid for a Warhol painting is US$100 million for a 1963 canvas titled Eight Elvises. There was a painting in the museum which was nothing but a piece of cloth with urine marks on it. The form of the urine depended on the amount and force on which it landed on the cloth.The artwork of Andy Warhol reflects an ongoing obsession of Hollywood and celebrity culture. It ranged in many forms of media that include except painting, also hand drawing, printmaking, photography, silk screening, sculpture, film, and music. The work explores the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s. In these years Warhol also made films. From 1963 to 1968, he made nearly 60 movies. One of his movies, Sleep, is a five-and-a-half hour film of a man sleeping. I could also not admire his movies which are to be seen at the museum. They have a sort of obscenity in them.
Shot in Studio
Warhol is also notable as a gay man who lived openly as such before the gay liberation movement. He opened a studio, The Factory, which became a famous gathering place that brought together distinguished intellectuals, drag queens, playwrights, Bohemian street people, Hollywood celebrities, and wealthy patrons. On July 3, 1968, disgruntled actress Valerie Solanas walked into Warhol’s studio and shot him in the chest. Less than thirty minutes later, he was pronounced clinically dead. The doctor then cut his chest open and massaged his heart for a final effort to get it started again. It worked. Though his life was saved, it took a long time for his health to recover.
The last years
During the 1970s and 1980s, Warhol began publishing a magazine called Interview and several books about himself and pop art, including The Philosophy of Andy Warhol and Popism: The Warhol Sixties. Warhol even dabbled in television. In the mid 1980s his television shows Andy Warhol’s TV and Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes were broadcast on New York cable television and nationally on MTV. He appeared in an episode of The Love Boat and produced musical videos for rock bands. Warhol also signed with a view modeling agencies, appearing in fashion shows and numerous print and television ads. He was a pioneer in computer-generated art using Amiga computers that were introduced in 1985, just before his death on February 21, 1987, in his sleep at New York Hospital. He underwent a routine gall bladder surgery. Though the surgery went well, for an unknown reason Warhol unexpectedly passed away the following morning. He was 58 years old. Now the Andy Warhol Museum holds an extensive permanent collection of his art and archives. It is the largest museum in the United States of America dedicated to a single artist. There is even a bridge near the museum named after him. (Please see video to)