1928 – 1987
Best remembered for his declaration that everyone would have fifteen minutes of fame, artist Andy Warhol cultivated celebrity status and achieved a level of notoriety normally reserved for Hollywood stars.
Born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the artist began studies there at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1945. In 1949, Warhol moved to New York where he established himself as a successful commercial designer working for leading fashion houses. Taking his inspiration from commercial art and popular culture, Warhol produced a series of works that appropriated imagery from advertisements and tabloids, eliminating personal references and any trace of the artist’s hand. His mechanically produced works were in stark contrast to the highly personal statements of the Abstract Expressionist movement that dominated the art world.
A 1962 exhibition that featured his “Campbell’s Soup Cans” and “Coca-Cola Bottles” brought Warhol instantaneous celebrity status and he was proclaimed the leader of the Pop Art movement. In 1963 Warhol established his New York studio, which he called “The Factory” and increasingly relied on assistants to produce his work. In 1965 the artist shifted his focus to film and performance art. He produced numerous multi-media events he labeled “The Exploding Plastic Inevitable”. The Andy Warhol Museum opened in the artist’s hometown of Pittsburgh in 1994.