“Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches.”
Born to a Czechoslovakian immigrant family living in the US, Andy Warhol is among the most interesting characters in the history of art. Unlike many artists whose fame accumulated after their death; he attracted attention throughout his life with his innovative approach to art, materials, everyday objects, as well as his passion for fame, sense of entertainment and fondness for materialism.
Warhol’s greatest revolution in the name of art was his contribution to the Pop Art movement, which changed the direction and shape of 1960’s popular art. Blending his admiration for graphic art and pop culture, Warhol has brought a new touch to the world of art. Pop Art became a term when the English critic, Lawrance Alloway used “Pop Art” as a word in an article.
Pop Art is built on everyday objects; it interprets everyday life through a different perspective. It takes all the things that are popular or used in daily life, makes them eligible for the use of art and conveys them in a concrete way.
Pop Art is born as a reaction to expressionism and Andy Warhol, Pop Art’s most well-known representative, had no difficulty in influencing millions with his artistic vision, rhetoric and interesting personality. With his famous quote ”I love Los Angeles. I love Hollywood. They’re beautiful. Everyone’s plastic but I like plastic. I want to be plastic.” he outlined his approach to life. Whatever is known about popular culture and consumer society could be the subject of Warhol’s works. His use of popular objects such as Campbell soup cans and Coca Cola bottles; his artworks featuring a popular figure like Marilyn Monroe and his use of an ordinary banana as an object are good examples of this approach.
Not only did Warhol draw attention to objects of mass consumption but he also left several films behind. He was the creator of the first ’underground’ movie in the world of cinema – Chelsea Girls. He had filmed The Empire State Building for 8 consecutive hours from dusk till dawn of the following day, and when the critics interpreted it as meaningless, Warhol said “just as life.” With this production, Andy Warhol rebelled against the commercial film industry and paved the way for future underground producers.
Warhol was shot by Valerie Solanas, a radical feminist, in 1968 and although he survived he never fully recovered. This assassination attempt put an end to Warhol’s flamboyant years, and the reason behind his death in 1987 was also related to this incident, after which his gall bladder did not function properly. Andy Warhol and his Factory, his New York City studio and hip haven where all the action happened, may have come to an end with his death. However the Pop Art movement that he shaped continued to attract masses around the world and steered the concept of art.