Warhol, Andy, real name Andrew Warhol (1928-1987), American painter, motion-picture director and producer, and publisher, who was a leader of the pop art movement, which based artwork on images taken from mass, or popular, culture. Warhol is considered one of the most important American artists of the 20th century. His work and ideas both reflect and helped shape American mass media and popular culture.
Warhol was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and educated at Carnegie Institute of Technology. During the 1950s Warhol practiced commercial art (art created primarily for promoting businesses) in New York City. He attracted attention in the 1960s with exhibitions of pop art subjects from daily life, such as Campbell’s Soup Can (1965, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York City) and Green Coca-Cola Bottles (1962, Whitney Museum, New York City), and of popular entertainers such as Marilyn Monroe. These images were silk-screened, a mechanical process that allowed them to be endlessly repeated (see Prints and Printmaking: Stencil Printing). Warhol took a similar impersonal approach in his experimental motion pictures. Empire (1964) provides an eight-hour view of the Empire State Building seen continuously from the same camera angle. The Chelsea Girls (1966), a seven-hour, virtually unedited film, features many of the actors from Warhol’s New York City studio known as the Factory. Improvised dialogue, lack of plot, and extreme eroticism were trademarks of The Chelsea Girls as well as of later, more complex films, such as Lonesome Cowboys (1969) and Trash (1970). In addition to working with art and motion pictures, Warhol helped promote the rock group Velvet Underground and produced the album Velvet Underground with Nico (1967).
Warhol’s publications include The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again (1975) and America (1985), a collection of his scathing photographs of contemporary life in the United States. From 1969 until his death, he published Interview, a monthly magazine with illustrated articles about current celebrities. In 1994 the Andy Warhol Museum, the largest single-artist museum in the United States, opened in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.