Andy Warhol (born Andrew Warhola Jr.; 1928–1987) was the leading exponent of the 1960s Pop Art movement. His revolutionary work subverted the canons of traditional artistic expression, by turning one-of-a-kind artworks into objects of mass commodification, in response to the banality of post-war consumer culture.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Warhol moved to New York in the late 1940s to pursue a career as a commercial illustrator. His signature flat style finds its roots in the world of advertising and fashion, while he worked as a designer for shoe manufacturer Israel Miller. There he developed the “blotted line” method–a combination of drawing and basic printmaking in watercolor and ink–and quickly became one of the most successful commercial artists of the 1950s. Paintings of his iconic Campbell’s Soup Cans were first exhibited in 1962 at Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, causing a major stir in the art establishment and catapulting Warhol into the national spotlight. Using the silkscreen technique, he produced images and sculptures of everyday objects in large repetitive series, to emulate and satirize the vacuity of post-war mass consumerism. Echoing printmaking, he utilized methods such as mirroring, replication, transfer, and multiplicity.
Alongside consumer goods, Warhol’s most iconic works reveal his fascination with celebrity culture and public figures, namely Marilyn Diptych (1962), Elvis I & II (1963), and Liz Taylor (1964). Throughout his life, Warhol worked across a broad range of media–painting, drawing, photography, film, and sculpture–and undertook various entrepreneurial ventures. He produced and managed the avant-garde rock band The Velvet Underground and founded Interview magazine. He directed or produced nearly 150 films and authored numerous books, such as The Philosophy of Andy Warhol and Popism: The Warhol Sixties. He died in 1987 at age 58, in New York City.