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Andy Warhol, emblematic master of Pop Art

- 19/07/2021
andy warhol pop art
Everyone knows a part of Andy Warhol's work, between advertising, portraits of stars and criticism of the birth of a culture of industrialization. He was also a graphic designer at Vogue, a respected filmmaker by the Nouvelle Vague, producer of Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground. Portrait of a provocative and secretive character.




Andy Warhol a is the third son of a recently immigrated worker from the Carpathians, joined by his wife. He was just one year old in 1929, when the Great Depression plunged huge sections of the population of the United States into poverty. In the industrial city of Pittsburgh, the father literally kills himself at work to feed his family. Their mainstay is strong religious faith and Sunday services in the Eastern Catholic Church. It is ten kilometers from their home, a path that is taken on foot and which opens onto the contrasting and marvelous decoration of gold and the warm colors of Byzantine icons. Suffering from an infectious disease that often forces him to stay in bed, the child is poorly integrated into school. He mostly grew up at home, between the radio and his celebrity image collections, and with his mother who did not speak English but taught him to draw. He was 14 when his father died. In 1949, Andy Warhol found his first job (and his new name) as an advertising designer in New York. He arrived there after obtaining a Bachelor of Arts and Audiovisual in Pittsburgh. Professional recognition is immediate and he quickly contributes to prestigious Vogue magazines, Harper's Bazaar, designs for manufacturers and decorates their windows. He frequents bars where he meets artists, including Marylin Monroe, and hangs his drawings there. In 1952, Andy Warhol's works were exhibited for the first time. It's in NY at the Hugo Gallery.

> Enter the universe of Andy Warhol


Where does Pop Art come from?

As Andy Warhol developed a successful career as an advertising and illustrator throughout the 1950s, American society fell in love with mass consumption. In the abundance and prosperity of the postwar victors' war, the world of arts and culture is in turmoil. Artists who had previously taken refuge in America left a deep mark on them. Abstract expressionism, defined in 1946 and whose most famous representative remains Jackson Pollock (action painting), conquered the world and New York dethroned Paris as the capital of modern art.

This avant-garde movement presents in painting a technique called colorfield painting (including Mark Rothko) which consists of placing large flat areas of uniform color on the canvas. At the same time, in 1950 there was a revival of comics overconsumed by all American youth.
The design is simple, the colors basic and the layout minimalist. It is a graphic style and a real popular aesthetic since shared by a very large number without condition of prior culture or notable means. Finally, artists experiment with new technical expressions and new concepts. So while Robert Rauschenberg makes paint disappear with solvents or paints with techniques derived from photography (cyanography), Marcel Duchamp devotes the object of everyday life as an object of art in its own right.

> Is Andy Warhol considered the father of Pop Art?


New collection of ANDY WARHOL

    Is screen printing art?

    For Andy Warhol’s work, it will be screen printing, industrial food and industrial movie stars. After making a few paintings very inspired by comics in 1962, he made the series 32 cans of Campbell soup which was quickly exhibited in Los Angeles by gallery owner Irving Blum. This painting, a true birth certificate of pop art as an artistic movement, is a set of 32 canvases painted by screen printing. It is a process of semi-mechanical reproduction of photographs, using one or more stencils and sieves to deposit paint on a surface.
    This surface is called the screen. So, we are free to think that the idea of ??wearing Marylin Monroe himself on the screen may have amused Andy… In fact, from 1962 he made several paintings representing her (9 Marylin, Gold Marylin, Diptych…) . Followed by the 200 One Dollar Bills of the series on death and disasters and the many portraits of stars and famous people. These are produced at the request of Harper's Bazaar, but also that of the actors themselves.
    portrait of andy warhol

    Andy Warhol: What is the Factory?

    In 1964, he bought a disused hat workshop and transformed it into a place dedicated to art, which he wanted to be fascinating. Redecorated, completely covered in (industrial) steel color, including floors, furniture and ceilings, the Factory becomes the workshop for mass production of art. So people were needed.
    The workshop is filled with young artists and all this fauna full of hope, creative energy and more or less hard drugs. It is also a studio for films like Sleep of 5h 21 minutes, Chelsea Girls first commercial success or Lonesome Cowboys a parody of western from 1969. Avant-garde films (full of duplicate images, of course) that he produced there will fascinate the filmmakers of the New Wave.
    Which he meets in the guise of Agnès Varda. Finally, at its peak, the Factory became a meeting place for the jet-set, where people show themselves, between concert hall, exhibition gallery, projection room and nightclub. The Velvet Underground, a rock group including Lou Reed, sets up its quarters there and is produced by the owner.

    What influence of Pop Art?

    Before Andy Warhol and pop art, art was an aesthetic proposition, where the artist was still a kind of craftsman of the fine arts, mastering and excelling in a profession (painting, sculpture, etc.).
    Going beyond abstract expressionism, art evolves with the consumerist movement of the time, criticizing and drawing inspiration from it. Art, like any production, has now lost both tradition and foundation, and opens the door to contemporary art. It is now a question of creating works of value that is to say of value in the art market. It seems that Andy Warhol's works have repeated it a lot.
    Rightly. Consecrated by the world of celebrities, he gradually became the emblematic leader of a movement that he did not initiate, perhaps to the detriment of his contemporaries Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist and d others, who also reacted to the mass media.
    This is undoubtedly due to the diversity of the fields in which he has expressed himself, to his relations with all the arts and to the controversies that persist around his work. But this extravagant dandy leaves behind an eminently critical work of consumer society, a society of the impermanent and disposable ... which remains and continues to decorate our daily lives.
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