© Andy Warhol by SIAE

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Andy Warhol was born in 1928 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, by Czechoslovakian immigrant parents. After graduating, in 1949, at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, he worked throughout the fifties as a graphic designer in New York, beginning an intense collaboration with magazines such as The New Yorker and Harper's Bazaar, and advertising agencies for footwear and clothing accessories for women. In 1952 took place his first solo exhibition at the Hugo Gallery in New York, with fifteen drawings inspired by the stories of Truman Capote. In these years, moreover, will draw theatrical sets and illustrate books of important writers and poets. In 1957 the artist founded Andy Warhol Enterprises, a company for the marketing of his works, already based on the repetition and serial uniformity of images, already widely distributed by the mass media, reproducing objects of industrial consumption. The early sixties will be fundamental for the codification of his artistic production, which accused and exalted, at the same time, the massifying society, of which he proposed himself as an integrated and consumer, to become an authentic star. Between 1960 and 1961 he met the painter Frank Stella and discovered Lichtenstein's paintings inspired by comics, at the Leo Castelli gallery, which contributed greatly to the spread of American Pop Art. In 1962 a plane crash, in which one hundred and twenty-nine people died, inspired the subject of Warhol's first series of works entitled Death and Disaster. He began, at the same time, the series of Campbell's soup cans, Coca Cola bottles, and portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and other celebrities from show business and politics. The technique used by Warhol was that of photographic carryover, with the violent industrial colors of offset printing, which desecrated the concept of uniqueness of the work of art, creating a mechanical artistic process. He will also be the author of films and short films on the same theme, which will realize together with the collaborators of his studio, the famous Factory, where the artistic and social activities of the Pop Art group took place. It was there, in Manhattan, that on June 3, 1968 Valerie Solanis, a feminist activist, shot Andy Warhol, seriously wounding him. Certainly the Warhol phenomenon was much discussed and criticized for its eccentricity and for the triumphant image of American consumerism that spread, just in the years in which they tried to fight against it. Warhol's production had, despite this, a great market success that led the artist to exhibit all over the world: Documenta 4 in Kassel, Montreal, Osaka, Pasadena, Chicago, London, Paris and New York. His multimedia happenings, his productions of videos and television projects, his portraits of Hollywood stars and his publications continued throughout the seventies and eighties, until, after making Last Supper, inspired by Leonardo's Last Supper, which was exhibited in Milan, Warhol died in 1987 in a New York hospital, following a gallbladder operation.

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