Influence of Andy Warhol on Culture
Andy Warhol, whose original name Andrew Warhola, was born onAugust 6th, 1928, in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He was a well-known artist and filmmaker, and also one of the leading initiator’s of thePop artmovement in the 1960s. He proposed a concept of an artist who was also an impersonal figure who nevertheless became a successful celebrity and businessman in his own right. He was the third son of two immigrants from easternSlovakia and grew up in the depression-era, his family was unable to afford many luxuries. Although after seeing some artistic potential in Andy, his parents decided to buy him his first camera when he was eight years old. At this time, Warhol was suffering from a neurological disorder commonly known as St. Vitus dance. This illness kept him from school occasionally, and it was then that Warhol became fascinated in reading Hollywood magazines and began playing with paper cutouts. His parents were unable to pay for college for all three of their children, but his father saw potential in Andy and saved up enough money for him to go to a university. Warhol then graduated in 1949 from theCarnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, receiving a degree in pictorial design. After college, he moved on to New York City, where he worked as a commercial illustrator eventually landing a job at Glamour Magazine.
Warhol beganpainting in the late 1950s and began establishing his celebrity and talent. He soon started painting everyday objects such asCampbell’s soup cans, Coca-Cola bottles, and wooden replicas of Brillo soap pad boxes. By 1963 he was mass-producing these purposelycornyimages of consumer products by using the technique ofsilk-screeningprints and then beganprinting a large portfolio of portraits of celebrities in bright colors. The silkscreen technique was an appropriate approach for Warhol, the repetition of an image was reduced to a blandand automated cultural icon that reflected on the supposed emptiness of America’s materialistic culture. This work placed Warhol in the leading edge of the rising Pop art movement in America.
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The first analysis of Andy’s work that I have chosen is his Marilyn Diptych that was made in 1962 that later inspired an entire Marilyn Series from 1962 to 1967. Warholcreated threeMarilyn Monroe screen-prints in 1967, a few years after Marilyn died of an overdose in 1962. The portfolio of 10 screen-prints was one of the first prints Warhol printed and displayed through his studio in New York known as “The Factory”. For Andy, who already has a deep fascination for Hollywood made Marilyn a familiar and easy muse. He first began illustrating the actress in theMarilyn Diptych in 1962, shortly after her passing. The Marilyn Diptych is a silkscreen painting that contains fifty images of Marilyn, with a still photograph from her film Niagara made in 1953. Half of the Marilyn diptych is brightly colored while the other is black and white that is slightly fading. My interpretation of this series was that it perfectly summarizes a theory of the correlation between Monroe’s stardom and sudden death. How it shows her brightly colored, using a photo taken at the prime of her career and beauty, but also showing the pain and suffering that turned her to drug use through black and white images. The idea behind the Marilyn Diptych, 1962, is built off a concept in Christian artwork where they depict the Virgin Mary on a side and Jesus crucified on the other. This comparison using a religious reference I feel was used to show the painful side that came with the idolization of Marilyn Monroe.
The last piece of artwork from Andy Warhol that I chose was Orange Car Crash Fourteen Times made in 1963. I chose this piece because it is much different from the celebrity portraits and consumerism pieces he is well known for. Orange Car Crash Fourteen Timesis from Warhol’sDeath and Disasterseries. This series mostly consisted of graphic and horrific images taken from newspapers, and using his favorite photo silk-screening method to repeat these images across a canvas. The repetition of the image was an important part of creating a certain impact of these pictures but also cleaning up the image in a way. My interpretation of this piece and series was that when someone first sees a graphic photo it leaves them feeling distressed and anxious, but after you see that photoduplicated over and over again it can make the viewer unable to grasp it any longer, and the dismay from the scene of horror just becomes another mass-market photograph.
Andy Warhol was not only an inspiring creator but also an influence of an entire culture. He wanted his art to be relatable to everyone, so he used everyday objects and celebrities in his life to creating bright and outside of the box artwork. He wanted people to question what counted as art, and why art was the way it was. He wanted people to see the world in a different way, and be able to show that light to others so they could see it too. His work was colorful, impulsive, and unlike anything that anyone had ever seen. He wanted to merge pop-culture and art, and he made that dream a reality and changed the foundation of art forever.