Andy Warhol biography

Andy Warhol was born Andrew Warhola (Rusyn: Андрій Варгола) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1928. He was the third child of his Slovak parents - Andrej and Ulja Warhola. His parents were working class immigrants of Rusyn ethnicity from Mikova, the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in north-eastern part of Slovakia). Andy Warhol's father immigrated to the United States in 1914, and his mother joined him in 1921 after the death of the grandparents. Warhol's father worked at a coal mine. The family lived at 55 Beelen Street and later at 3252 Dawson Street in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The family was Byzantine Catholic and attended St. John Chrysostom Byzantine Catholic Church. Andy Warhol had two older brothers, John (Jan) and Paul (Paul), who were born in present-day Slovakia. Paul's son James Warhola, became a successful children's book illustrator.

In third grade, Warhol had St. Vitus' dance a disease of the nervous system, causing involuntary movements of limbs, which is believed to be a complication of scarlet fever and causes skin pigmentation blotchiness. He became a hypochondriac, developing the fear of hospitals and doctors. He was often bed-ridden as a child, and became an outcast among his schoolmates and bonded strongly with his mother. While in bed, he listened to the radio and collected photos of movie stars around his bed. Warhol later described this period as a very important role in the development of his personality, skill set and preferences.

In 1945 Andy Warhol entered the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) where he majored in pictorial design. In 1949, he moved to New York City and began a successful career in magazine illustration and advertising.

During 1950, he was famous for extraordinary ink drawings of shoes advertisement. This were done in a free, blotted ink style, and appeared in some of his early showings in New York's Bodley Gallery. With a simultaneous rapid expansion of the recording industry and the introduction of vinyl records, Hi-Fi, and stereophonic recordings, RCA Records hired Warhol, and another freelance artist, Sid Maurer, to design album covers and promotional materials.

Throughout the 1950s, Warhol enjoyed a successful career as a commercial artist, winning several commendations from the Art Director's Club and the American Institute of Graphic Arts. In these early years, he shortened his name to "Warhol." In 1952, the artist had his first individual show at the Hugo Gallery, exhibiting Fifteen Drawings Based on the Writings of Truman Capote. His work was exhibited in several other venues during the 1950s, including his first group show at The Museum of Modern Art in 1956.

His first solo exhibition in the gallery as a fine artist was on 9 July 1962, at Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, California. The exhibition marked the West Coast debut of pop art. Andy Warhol's first solo Pop exhibition in New York was hosted atthe site stable Eleanor Ward Gallery on 6-24 November 1962. The exhibition included the works: Marilyn Diptych, 100 Soup Banks, 100 Coke Bottles and 100 Dollar Bills. At the Stable Gallery exhibition, the artist first met John Giorno who would star in Warhol first film, 'Sleep', in 1963.

In the 1960's that Warhol began to make paintings of the cult American products, such as Campbell's Soup Cans from the Campbell Soup Company and Coca-Cola bottles, as well as paintings of famous people such as Marilyn Monroe, Troy Donahue, and Elizabeth Taylor. He founded the "Factory", his studio during these years, and gathered around himself a wide range of artists, writers, musicians and underground celebrities. He started production of prints using silk screen printing method. His work became popular and controversial.

A keystone event was the 1964 exhibit 'The American Supermarket', a show held in Paul Bianchini's Upper East Side Gallery. The exhibition was presented as a typical U.S. small supermarket environment, except that all of its products, canned food, meat, posters on the walls, etc. were created by six prominent pop artists of the time, including the controversial Billy Apple, Mary Inman, and Robert Watts. Warhol painting of a Campbell soup can cost $1500, and each autographed soup can sold for $6. The exhibition was one of the first mass events that directly confronted with the general public with both pop-art and immortal question of what is art.

As an advertisement illustrator in the 1950's, Warhol used assistants to increase his productivity. Collaboration will be the defining (and controversial) aspect of his working methods throughout his career, in the 1960's it was especially important. One of the most important collaborators during this period was Gerard Malanga. Malanga assisted the artist with producing silkscreens, films, sculptures and other works at 'The Factory', Warhol's aluminum foil-and-silver-paint-lined studio on 47th Street (later moved to Broadway). Other members of Warhol Factory crowd included Freddie Herko, Ondine, Ronald Tavel, Mary Woronov, Billy Name, Brigid Berlin (from whom he apparently got the idea of the tape recording of his telephone conversations).

In July of 1968 the pop artist was shot two to three times into his chest by a woman named Valerie Solanis. Andy was seriously wounded and only narrowly escaped death. Valerie Solanis had worked occasionally for the artist in the Factory. Solanis had founded a group named SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men) and she was its sole member. When Valerie Solanis was arrested the day after, her words were "He had too much control over my life". Warhol never recovered completely from his wounds and had to wear a bandage around his waist for the rest of his life.After this assassination attempt the pop artist made a radical turn in his process of producing art. The philosopher of art mass production now spent most of his time making individual portraits of the rich and affluent of his time like Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson or Brigitte Bardot. Warhol began publishing 'Interview' magazine and renewed his focus on painting. Works created in the 1970's include Maos, Skulls, Hammer and Sickles, Torsos and Shadows and many commissioned portraits. Warhol also published The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (from A to B and Back Again). Firmly established as a major 20th-century artist and international celebrity, Warhol exhibited his work extensively in museums and galleries around the world. Warhol used to socialize at various nightspots in New York City, including Max's Kansas City, Serendipity 3 and, later in the '70s, Studio 54. He was generally regarded as quiet, shy, and a meticulous observer. Art critic Robert Hughes called him 'the white mole of Union Square.'

Warhol experienced re-emergence of critical and financial success in the 1980's, partly because of his affiliation and friendships with a number of prolific younger artists, who dominated the 'bull market' in New York Art: Jean-Michel Basquiat , Julian Schnabel, David Salle and other so-called Neo-expressionists, as well as members of the Council Transavantgarde movement in Europe, including Francesco Clemente and Enzo Cucchi. He also created two cable television shows, "Andy Warhol's TV" in 1982 and "Andy Warhol's Fifteen Minutes" for MTV in 1986. His paintings from the 1980s include The Last Suppers, Rorschachs and, in a return to his first great theme of Pop, a series called Ads.

Following routine gall bladder surgery, Andy Warhol died February 22, 1987. After his burial in Pittsburgh, his friends and associates organized a memorial mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York that was attended by more than 2,000 people.

Биография Энди Уорхола на русском>>