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Andy Warhol

It is rare for an artist to become a celebrity, but Andy Warhol experienced much more than his fifteen minutes of fame, and became an icon of his generation. Warhol was involved in many artistic fields such as painting, filmmaking and photography, but nevertheless was a businessman, social connoisseur and self-promoter. He was a major contributor to the Pop art movement, a period when mainstream objects, such as comic strips, advertisements and celebrity photos, were incorporated into many works. Warhols Campbell Soup series and later his celebrity series are some of the most well known works of pop art, that are still referenced in print and advertising today. However, not all of his works dealt with intriguing celebrities or mainstream advertising. Few people are familiar with Warhols darker side, evident in his Disaster paintings, a period in which such tragedy as, car accidents, suicide and capital punishment captured Warhols interest. These morbid works differ from his Pop Art masterpieces, and are crucial in understanding Warhols overall body of work. Warhol graduated from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1949, with a degree in pictorial design. He then went to New York City to work as a commercial illustrator, and later began painting towards the late 1950s. His work did not gain notoriety until around 1962 when his Campbell soup prints and Marilyn Monroe painting gained respect in the art world. However this period was a tumultuous time in Warhols life. He was not yet a celebrity, and had his coming out as a homosexual, while at the same time the effects of the Vietnam conflict were felt across the country. These conflicting emotions can be seen many Warhols paintings, but later served as a catalyst for his Disaster paintings. In the early 1960s capital punishment became a powerful political issue. Warhol aimed to capture the feeling of an execution in his Death and Disaster masterpiece, Electric Chair. In it we see the...

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