They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.
—— Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol was an American artist, director, and producer who was a leading figure in Pop Art movement. Like his contemporaries Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg, Warhol responded to mass-media culture of the 1960s. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, advertising, and celebrity culture, and span a variety of media, including painting, silkscreening, photography, film, and sculpture. His silkscreens of cultural and consumer icons—including Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Campbell’s Soup Cans, and Brillo Boxes—would make him one of the most famous artists of his generation.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Warhol initially pursued a successful career as a commercial illustrator. After exhibiting his work in several galleries in the late 1950s, he began to receive recognition as an influential and controversial artist. Though Warhol was a gay man, he kept much of his private life a secret, occasionally referencing his sexuality through art. This is perhaps most evident in his drawings of male nudes from the 1950s, and later in his film Sleep (1963), which portrays the poet John Giorno nude. His New York studio rented in 1964, The Factory, became a well-known gathering place that brought together distinguished intellectuals, drag queens, playwrights, Bohemian street people, Hollywood celebrities, and wealthy patrons. He promoted a collection of personalities known as Warhol superstars, and is credited with inspiring the widely used expression “15 minutes of fame.” In the late 1960s, he managed and produced the experimental rock band The Velvet Underground and founded Interview magazine. He authored numerous books, including The Philosophy of Andy Warhol and Popism: The Warhol Sixties. During the 1980s, Warhol collaborated with several younger artists, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, and Keith Haring.
Warhol has been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions, books, and feature and documentary films. The Andy Warhol Museum in his native city of Pittsburgh, which holds an extensive permanent collection of art and archives, is the largest museum in the United States dedicated to a single artist. Today, his works are held in the collections of numerous museums including the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Tate Gallery in London, among others. A major retrospective of Warhol’s work took place at the Whitney Museum of Art in New York in 2019.