Andy Warhol’s works are the symbol of pop culture around the world. Andy Warhol was the most successful and highly paid illustrator in New York even before he started making art for galleries. Despite his screen-printed images of Marilyn Monroe, soup cans and sensational newspaper articles, he quickly became a pop art synonym. He has emerged from the poverty and darkness of an Eastern European immigrant family in Pittsburgh to become a charismatic magnet for bohemians in New York and, eventually, to find a place in the circles of high society. For many, his rise reflects one of the pop art ambitions of bringing popular styles and themes to the exclusive salons of high art. His status as a popular symbol represents a new kind of fame and fame for a fine artist.

Andy Warhol Works: Marilyn Monroe

Key Ideas
Warhol’s early commercial illustrations were recently hailed as the arena where he learned to manipulate popular taste. His drawings were often funny, decorative and whimsical, and their tone is completely different from the cold and impersonal mood of his pop art.

Andy Warhol Works: John Lennon

Much debate still surrounds the iconic screen-printed images that have helped Warhol gain his reputation as a pop artist in the early 1960s. Some see his death and disaster series and his Marilyn paintings as franc expresses his grief at public events. Others see her as some of the first expressions of “compassion fatigue” – the way the public loses the ability to sympathize with events that make her feel distant. Others think his pictures are trying to register and process the shock of frightening events on screens.

Andy Warhol Works: Pop Art Skull

Although many artists have painted of popular culture in the 20th century, pop art marks an important new stage in the division between high and low art forms. Warhol’s paintings from the early 1960s were important to this developmental pioneering work, but it is debatable whether the varied activities of his later years were equally influential in expanding the impact of Pop Art in other spheres. He continues to undermine the boundaries between the worlds of high art and popular culture.

Andy Warhol Works: Michael Jackson

Although Warhol would continue to paint, in 1965 he officially retired from the medium to focus on making experimental films. Despite years of neglect, these films have recently attracted widespread interest. Warhol is seen today as one of the most important filmmakers of the time.

Andy Warhol Works: Elvis Presley

Critics have traditionally seen a decline in Warhol’s career in 1968 after being shot by Valerie Solanas. In observing his early paintings, they have ignored the activities that has occupied his attention in later years – films, parties, collecting, publications and portraits commissioned. But some have begun to think that all of these ventures are Warhol’s most important legacy, as they announce the diverse interests, activities, and interventions that artists have today.

Obsessed with celebrity, consumer culture and mechanical (re) production, pop artist Andy Warhol created some of the most famous images of the 20th century. Famous for his jokes as well as his art, he occasionally muses that “art is what you can afford” and “everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes”. Warhol moved far from popular culture and everyday objects with works such as his 32 Campbell Soup Cans (1962), Brillo Paddose sculptures and portraits by Marilyn Monroe, who create the medium of screenprinting graphics with its characteristic hard edges and flat color ranges. Known for his prominence cultivation, Factory Studio (a radical social and creative melting pot) and avant-garde films like Chelsea Girls (1966), Warhol was also a mentor to artists such as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. His pop sensibility is now standard practice and is recorded by major contemporary artists such as Richard Prince, Takashi Murakami, Jeff Koons and countless others.

Andy Warhol Art Car 1979

Andy Warhol with his Art Car 1979

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Jessica Cortez

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