b. 1928 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, d. 1987 New York City
painter; photographer; filmmaker; publisher
"If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There's nothing behind it." --Andy Warhol
Thus Andy Warhol described himself, being deliberately enigmatic with regard to the depth of his talent. Having received a degree in pictorial design in 1949, he began his professional career as a window dresser and later as a commercial illustrator. He derived his subject matter from popular culture and established himself as a prime mover in the Pop Art movement with his paintings of Campbell's Soup cans. Using cultural icons from Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to the Lone Ranger, Warhol celebrated the transience of taste and fame. These silkscreened paintings were based on close-up portraits made with the Polaroid Big Shot camera. Throughout the 1960s, his New York City studio, the Factory, was a fertile creative ground for a disparate group of artists and hangers-on. Having developed an idea, Warhol employed his Factory staff for the physical production of the art objects.
Warhol was a filmmaker, director of multimedia shows, and founder and publisher of Interview magazine. He created the prototype of the artist as social celebrity, successful businessperson, and mass producer.