Andy Warhol: Prince of Pop

The Book

Andy Warhol was born in Pittsburgh in 1928 to Carpatho-Ruthenian immigrant parents.  He had 2 older brothers, and was the “coddled” baby brother.  He was incredibly smart, skipping grades even as he battled many health issues causing him to miss school.  He was very close to his mother, and his father died when he was a young man.  He attended art school after discovering he had a great talent, and struggled with many more traditional instructors and fellow artists.  However, it took only a few key people to recognize his talent and encourage him to move forward paving the way to Andy’s future success.  After graduating with a BFA from Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) he moved to New York City.  He struggled for a few years trying to break into the art world paying bills by doing “commercial art” for companies around NYC.  His mother eventually moved in with him to “take care” of him. Eventually Andy started meeting the right people and establishing a name for himself in the new Pop Art movement of the 1960’s.  In the early sixties he painted some of his most famous pieces including the Campbell Soup can and Marilyn Monroe silk-screens.  Eventually, Andy trades in his firehouse studio for his famous “Factory” and begins building an entourage of hip and modern young people who were on the cutting edge of pop culture.  These characters ranged from rich debutantes and celebrities, to poor artists, actors, and homeless drug addicts. Although the people around him were the epitome of New York party life, Andy always seemed more like a voyeur rather than a participant considering he did not use drugs or alcohol himself.  Over the next several years Andy dove into filmmaking creating what could be considered a series of films that preceded reality TV of today.  He also continued his artwork delving into more politically charged paintings, portraits for money, and self portraits. While he always seemed to have financial troubles, he remained on the forefront of what was “cool” in the 60s and 70s.  He managed to keep his private life private while not all together excluding the fact that he was a homosexual.  He longed to have meaningful long-term relationships, but usually had a difficult time doing so.  He traveled extensively with friends and prospective partners, and continued to create and discover new aspects of his endless talent.  He also discovered many rock stars, artists and actors giving them opportunities to display their talents through his films, art exhibits, his popular magazine “The Interview”, and his ultra-hip underground nightclub scene “The Velvet Underground” in the late 60s.  Andy Warhol’s heyday was quickly halted temporarily when one of his followers turned on him, shot him, and nearly killed him.  Andy did recover and managed to continue a very successful career as a widely popular artist, filmmaker, and magazine publisher well into the 80’s.  The authors of this biography do a great job balancing Warhol’s life and art, and include photographs of many of his famous paintings.  Their use of Warhol’s personal quotes and artwork itself paints an accurate picture of the man and the lifestyle he created.  This lifestyle teetered on the very public persona he created for the masses and the very private man he was inside. Warhol was an incredibly important 20th century artist, and was the original pop-culture icon.  This book tells of his importance and his life in such a way that students young and old will find intriguing.

A Brief Description of Warhol with Hot Links