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Warhol: A Life as Art [Hardcover]
The definitive biography of one of the most famous and influential artists the world has ever seen.
Andy Warhol presented himself as being as shallow as critics accused his famous Campbell's Soup can paintings of being. His public persona was droll; he claimed that he silkscreened because it was easier than painting, and that everyone would have fifteen minutes of fame in the future. But who was Andy Warhol really, and how did he come to revolutionise our visual world forever? From his impoverished childhood as the son of Slovak immigrants in 1930s Pittsburgh, to finding commercial success as an advertising illustrator, to his painstaking pivot into fine art to becoming one of the first people to bring a queer aesthetic out into the open; Warhol shows us how deliberately Andy Warhol reflected the changing winds of commercialism, capitalism and celebrity in the 1960s that still underpin our world today.
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The definitive biography of one of the most famous and influential artists the world has ever seen A GUARDIAN, OBSERVER, AND DAZED MAGAZINE 'BOOK TO LOOK FORWARD TO' IN 2020 "Superb...Gopnik persuasively assembles his case over the course of this mesmerising book, which is as much art history and philosophy as it is biography" Kathryn Hughes, The Guardian When critics attacked Andy Warhol's Marilyn paintings as shallow, the Pop artist was happy to present himself as shallower still: He claimed that he silkscreened to avoid the hard work of painting, although he was actually a meticulous workaholic; in interviews he presented himself as a silly naif when in private he was the canniest of sophisticates. Blake Gopnik's definitive biography digs deep into the contradictions and radical genius that led Andy Warhol to revolutionise our cultural world. Based on years of archival research and on interviews with hundreds of Warhol's surviving friends, lovers and enemies, Warhol traces the artist's path from his origins as the impoverished son of Eastern European immigrants in 1930s Pittsburgh, through his early success as a commercial illustrator and his groundbreaking pivot into fine art, to the society portraiture and popular celebrity of the '70s and '80s, as he reflected and responded to the changing dynamics of commerce and culture. Warhol sought out all the most glamorous figures of his times - Susan Sontag, Mick Jagger, the Barons de Rothschild - despite being burdened with an almost crippling shyness. Behind the public glitter of the artist's Factory, with its superstars, drag queens and socialites, there was a man who lived with his mother for much of his life and guarded the privacy of his home. He overcame the vicious homophobia of his youth to become a symbol of gay achievement, while always seeking the pleasures of traditional romance and coupledom. (Warhol explodes the myth of his asexuality.) Filled with new insights into the artist's work and personality, Warhol asks: Was he a joke or a genius, a radical or a social climber? As Warhol himself would have answered: Yes.
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