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Andy Warhol

   ¤  Synopsis of biography below  .  .  .

Born Andrew Warhola on August 6, 1928 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Andy Warhol’s parents were Slovakian immigrants, living in one of Pittsburgh’s Eastern European ethnic enclaves.

At the age of 8, Warhol contracted Chorea—also known as St. Vitus’s Dance—a rare and sometimes fatal disease of the nervous system that left him bedridden for several months. It was during these months, while Warhol was sick in bed, that his mother, herself a skillful artist, gave him his first drawing lessons. Drawing soon became Warhol’s favorite childhood pastime. He was also an avid fan of the movies, and when his mother bought him a camera at the age of 9 he took up photography as well, developing film in a makeshift darkroom he set up in their basement.

Warhol attended Holmes Elementary school and took the free art classes offered at the Carnegie Institute (now the Carnegie Museum of Art) in Pittsburgh. .

When he graduated from college with his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1949, Warhol moved to New York City to pursue a career as a commercial artist. It was also at this time that he dropped the «a» at the end of his last name to become Andy Warhol. He landed a job with Glamour magazine in September, and went on to become one of the most successful commercial artists of the 1950s. He won frequent awards for his uniquely whimsical style, using his own blotted line technique and rubber stamps to create his drawings.

In the late 1950s, Warhol began devoting more attention to painting, and in 1961, he debuted the concept of «pop art»—paintings that focused on mass-produced commercial goods. In 1962, he exhibited the now-iconic paintings of Campbell’s soup cans. These small canvas works of everyday consumer products created a major stir in the art world, bringing both Warhol and pop art into the national spotlight for the first time. British artist Richard Hamilton described pop art as «popular, transient, expendable, low cost, mass-produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous, big business.» As Warhol himself put it, «Once you ‘got’ pop, you could never see a sign the same way again. And once you thought pop, you could never see America the same way again.»

Warhol’s other famous pop paintings depicted Coca-cola bottles, vacuum cleaners and hamburgers. He also painted celebrity portraits in vivid and garish colors; his most famous subjects include Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Mick Jagger, Mao Zedong…

In 1964, Warhol opened his own art studio, a large silver-painted warehouse known simply as «The Factory.» The Factory quickly became one of New York City’s premier cultural hotspots, the scene of lavish parties attended by the city’s wealthiest socialites and celebrities. Warhol, who clearly relished his celebrity, became a fixture at infamous New York City nightclubs like Studio 54 and Max’s Kansas City. Commenting on celebrity fixation—his own and that of the public at large—Warhol observed, «more than anything people just want stars.»

In the 1970s, Warhol began expanding into new artistic mediums. He put together his first book, Andy Warhol’s Index, in 1967, and released several other titles such as The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again) and Exposures in the 1970s. Warhol also experimented extensively with video art, producing more than 60 films during his career. Some of his most famous films include Sleep, which depicts poet John Giorno sleeping for six hours, and Eat, which shows a man eating a mushroom for 45 minutes. Warhol also worked in sculpture and photography, and in the 1980s, he moved into television, hosting Andy Warhol’s TV and Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes on MTV.

Warhol died on February 22, 1987, at the age of 58. His personal life has been the subject of much debate and consideration. He is widely believed to have been a gay man, and his art was often infused with homoerotic imagery and motifs. However, he claimed that he remained a virgin for his entire life.          []

◊  Life & Work of  ↓ Andy Warhol



“I suppose I have a really loose interpretation of ‘work’, because I  think that just being alive is so much work at something you don’t always want to do. Being born is like being kidnapped. And then sold into slavery. People are working every minute. The machinery is always going. Even when you sleep.»

. . . I’ve always had a conflict because I’m shy and yet I like to take up a lot of personal space. Mom always said, «Don’t be pushy, but let everybody know you’re around.» I wanted to command more space than I was commanding, but then I knew I was too shy to know what to do with the attention if I did manage to get it. That’s why I love television. That’s why I feel that television is the media I’d most like to shine in. I’m really jealous of everybody who’s got their own show on television.

. . . Before I was shot, I always thought that I was more half-there than all-there—I always suspected that I was watching TV instead of living life. People sometimes say that the way things happen in the movies is unreal, but actually it’s the way things happen to you in life that’s unreal. The movies make emotions look so strong and real, whereas when things really do happen to you, it’s like watching television—you don’t feel anything.

A_W_ph ⇔ from A to B and Back Again

. . .  Click for the full book  ↑   published in 1975 and written by AW’s crew. . .   Next, a favourite excerpt . . .


Another way to take up more space is with perfume.

I really love wearing perfume. I’m not exactly a snob about the bottle a cologne comes in, but I am impressed with a good-looking presentation. It gives you confidence when you’re picking up a well-designed bottle. People have told me that the lighter your skin. the lighter the color perfume you should use. And vice-versa. But I can’t limit myself to one range. (Besides, I’m sure hormones have a lot to do with how a perfume smells on your skin – I’m sure the right hormones can make Chanel No.5 smell very butch.

I switch perfumes all the time. If I’ve been wearing one perfume for three months, I force myself to give it up, even if I still feel like wearing it, so whenever I smell it again it will always remind me of those three months. I never go back to wearing it again; it becomes part of my permanent smell collection.

Sometimes at parties I slip away to the bathroom just to see what colognes they’ve got. I never look at anything else – I don’t snoop – but I’m compulsive about seeing if there’s some obscure perfume I haven’t tried yet, or a good old favorite I haven’t smelled in a long time. If I see something interesting, I can’t stop myself from pouring it on. But then for the rest of the evening, I’m paranoid that the host or hostess will get a whiff of me and notice that I smell like somebody they know.

Of the five senses, smell has the closest thing to the full power of the past. Smell really is transporting. Seeing, hearing, touching, tasting are just not as powerful as smelling if you want your whole being to go back for a second to something. Usually I don’t want to, but by having smells stopped up in bottles, I can be in control and can only smell the smells I want to, when I want to, to get the memories I’m in the mood to have, just for a second. The good thing about a smell-memory is that the feeling of being transported stops the instant you stop smelling, so there are no after-effects. It’s a neat way to reminisce.

…                    …                    …                   …

•→The early jazz album covers of  ANDY WARHOL
◊  Hello Again!

1984 video clip of this hit by The Cars  ⇓  Directed by Andy Warhol & Don Munroe.


Hello,  hello again …

You might have forgot  –  the journey ends
You tied your knots  and you made your friends
You left the scene  without a trace
One hand on the ground  –  one hand in space

Oh you passed on mercy  –  You tried the rest
You gave your body  –  You gave your best
Stare at the green door  –  Livin’ in the sky
You don’t wanna know it  –  You just want to fly

(hello) hello   (hello again)
Uh-oo, mm-mm yeah
(hello) hello   (hello again)
Hello, that’s right

I know (I know you’re a dreamer)
Mm-mm, who’s under the gun
I know (I know you’re a dreamer)
who’s only just begun

Hello (hello … hello again)
Mm-mm, I say
(hello) hello  (hello again)

Oh when there’s nothin’  –  nothin’ left to lose
You leave it all  to fade to blue, yeah

(you want to feel) electric
(you want to feel) loose
(you want to be) eclectic
You want to call a truce
(look [echo]) at the profile
Staring at the flame
(wait [echo]) for the sunshine
Standing in the rain

(hello) uh oh   (hello again)
I said hello (hello) hello
(hello again) hello again
I say hello (hello) hello
(hello again) hello again

(hello) uh oh   (hello again)
Ooh-ooh   (hello)
Mm-mm hello
(hello)  Uh mm, I said
(hello)   (hello)

♦  J Cale & L Reed   ↓  Songs For Drella  [1990]

A concept album by Lou Reed & John Cale, both formerly of The Velvet Underground, dedicated to the memory of their mentor, Drella (a contraction of Dracula + Cinderella, and a nickname for Warhol coined by Warhol Superstar Ondine .

The song cycle focuses on Warhol’s interpersonal relations and experiences, with songs falling roughly into three categories: Warhol’s first-person perspective (which makes up the vast majority of the album), third-person narratives chronicling events and affairs, and first-person commentaries on Warhol by Reed and Cale themselves. Click titles for lyrics  .  .  .

01   Smalltown  +  02   Open House  +  03   Style It Takes  ↓

04   Work  ↓

05   Faces And Names  ↓

06   Nobody But You  ↓

I really care a lot although I look like I do not
Since I was shot there’s nobody but you
I know I look blase, party Andy’s what the papers say
At dinner I’m the one who pays for a nobody like you
Nobody but you, a nobody like you
Since I got shot there’s nobody but you
Won’t you decorate my house
I’ll sit there quiet as a mouse
You know me I like to look a lot – at nobody like you
I’ll hold your hand and slap my face
I’ll tickle you – it’s no disgrace
Won’t you put me in my proper place – a nobody like you
Nobody but you, a nobody like you
Since I got shot there’s nobody but you
Sundays I pray a lot,
I’d like to wind you up and paint your clock
I want to be what I am not with nobody like you
The bullet split my spleen and lung,
the doctors said I was almost gone
Inside I’ve got some shattered bone
for nobody but you
I’m still not sure I didn’t die
And if I’m dreaming I still have bad pains inside
I know I’ll never be a bride – to nobody like you
Nobody but you –
This is no Camelot – Nobody but you . . .
Since I got shot, there’s nobody but you
07   Forever Changed  ↓

¤  Velvet Underground  ↓ «I’ll Be Your Mirror»


←’Wrap your troubles in dreams’

 … Writhe and sway to music’s pain 
Searing with asides 
Caress death with a lover’s touch 
for it shall be your bride

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