Andy Warhol - Essay 2

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Andy Warhol, American painter, printmaker, photographer, filmmaker, writer, publisher, commercial artist, and illustrator who first gained recognition with his imaginative advertising designs for elite clients such as Tiffany & Company, retailer Henri Bendel, and I. Miller shoes. Warhol ultimately became one of the most famous figures of the 20th century, renowned as much for the persona he created as for his multiple original silk-screen images of common supermarket products, front-page news events, and celebrity icons such as Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline Kennedy, Elvis Presley, Marlon Brando, and Elizabeth Taylor. (Mitchell,2-3) However, there were many critics who did not believe that what Warhol did was art. Some were rather confused and outraged, and questioning whether or not pictures of Campbell’s soup can, Brillo boxes, comic strip characters, was art. When Andy Warhol's works first showed up in galleries in the early 1960s people were irritated, because people thought of art as Picasso or Van Gough, and they had not explored the world modern art. But others found his paintings amusing and meaningful. Because Warhol glorified popular culture with realistic depictions of everyday objects, his work was called "pop art." (Grolier Online)In this paper I will argue that as time progresses, people like Andy Warhol are a necessity to our society so that we can open our eyes to something we have never seen before, no matter how the media critiques it. Andy Warhol did just that, and that is why he is a major icon of pop art/culture.

Andy Warhol was born Andrew Warhola, a son of Slovakian immigrants, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 6, 1928. He was a weak child, and inflexible fever left him with the pale, blemished skin that, along with the shaggy white wigs he wore to hide his thinning hair, contributed to his distinctive looks. If you ever look at images of Andy Warhol, it is very clear that he was very different and that he had something unique about himself. His illnesses sometime forced him to be bed-ridden, and also made him an outcast in school, and created a very strong with his mother. When in bed he used to draw, listen to the radio and collect pictures of movie stars around his bed. After showing an early sign of artistic ability, he attended the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh to study commercial art. After graduating in 1949, he moved to New York City, where his success as a commercial artist was immediate. In the 1950’s, he fame developed for his whimsical ink drawings of shoe advertisements. Andy Warhol's first New York solo pop art exhibition was hosted at Eleanor Ward's Stable Gallery November 6–24, 1962. The exhibit included the works Marilyn Diptych, 100 Soup Cans, 100 Coke Bottles and 100 Dollar Bills. His work became popular, and the more attention that he got, the more controversial his works became. (Mitchell 2-3)

Art historians, even today, still dispute the significance of the Warhol legacy. For example in 1995, Warhol was issued in a poll which asked who were the most over or under rated artists of the century. Andrew 
Graham-Dixon, chief art critic for The Independent, London, irritably says that the attention Warhol receives is exaggerated far past his importance: "I don't 
know why I keep hearing about Warhol shows. We don't need forty exhibitions 
explaining what he did. . .if you can't see it, you're dumb," where as Mark Stevens, another art critic, also adds that Warhol was the most over and underrated artist of the century. Graham-Dixon's irritation and Stevens' doubt represent ideas that 
control the criticism of Warhol. The enormous opposing array of 
criticism show that Warhol's artistic statement struck a 
nerve, raised appealing issues that still shock the historians/art critics, and clearly shows what kind of an important role Warhol played in art history. (Pratt xviii)

“Public fascination with Warhol revolved around two questions: Why is he doing this? And how is...
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