Andy Warhol (August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987) was an American artist and filmmaker, an initiator and leading exponent of the Pop art movement of the 1960s, whose mass-produced art apotheosized the supposed banality of the commercial culture of the United States. An adroit self-publicist, he projected a concept of the artist as an impersonal, even vacuous, figure who is nevertheless a successful celebrity, businessman, and social climber.
The son of Ruthenian (Rusyn) immigrants from what is now eastern Slovakia, Warhol graduated in 1949 from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University), Pittsburgh, with a degree in pictorial design. He then went to New York City, where he worked as a commercial illustrator for about a decade.
Warhol began painting in the late 1950s and received sudden notoriety in 1962 when he exhibited paintings of Campbell's soup cans, Coca-Cola bottles, and wooden replicas of Brillo soap pad boxes. By 1963 he was mass-producing these purposely banal images of consumer goods by means of photographic silkscreen prints. He then began printing endless variations of portraits of celebrities in garish colours. The silkscreen technique was ideally suited to Warhol, for the repeated image was reduced to a bland and dehumanized cultural icon that reflected both the supposed emptiness of American material culture, awash in consumerism and brand marketing, and the artist's emotional noninvolvement with the practice of his art. Warhol's work placed him at the forefront of America's emerging Pop art movement.
As the 1960s progressed, Warhol devoted more of his energy to filmmaking. Usually classed as underground films, such motion pictures of his as Chelsea Girls (1966), Eat (1963), My Hustler (1965), and Blue Movie (1969) are known for their inventive eroticism, plotless boredom, and excessive length (up to 25 hours). Other movies include Poor Little Rich Girl (1965) and Lupe (1966), featuring Edie Sedgwick.
Throughout the 1970s and until his death, he produced prints depicting political and Hollywood celebrities, notably Marilyn Monroe. He also involved himself in various advertising illustrations and other commercial art projects. His The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (1975) was followed by Portraits of the Seventies and Andy Warhol's Exposures (1979).