Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 5

Andy Warhol - Biography, Works, Films portraying Warhol

pittsburgh produced public personalities

Painter and film-maker, born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. A founder of the Pop Art movement of the 1960s, he studied at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh (1945–9) and by 1950 had settled in New York City working as a commercial artist. By 1957 he began his series of silkscreen paintings based on comic strips, advertisements, and newspaper photos of public personalities. His painted replicas of Campbell's Soup cans (1961) made him into a celebrity, and from then on his works and words (‘In the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes’) kept him constantly in the headlines, though he cultivated an image that was both elusive and evasive. Much of his work was collaborative and produced in a loft called ‘the Factory’. He also turned to making underground films, such as Chelsea Girls (1966), deliberately coarse amalgams of sexuality and banality which were co-produced and primarily directed by Paul Morrissey. In 1968 Warhol was shot and wounded by Valerie Solanis, who had appeared in his films. In 1969 he began to publish Interview, a magazine of fashion news and gossip. He then embarked on his serial portraits of international personalities, becoming extremely rich from selling silkscreen multiples of such as Mao Zedong (1974). He amassed a fabulous collection of antiques and collectibles (such as cookie jars), auctioned after his death for a small fortune. Said to have been a devout Catholic, he remained personally enigmatic despite his years in the public spotlight. The Andy Warhol Museum opened in Pittsburgh in 1994.

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