POLITICS/SPRING  2001                                                                                                                                                                                  ISSUE 2

What is the cause of Andy Warhol's influence on pop culture?  In several ways this is a hard question to answer.  Certainly everyone knows the name Andy Warhol, but so many people know nothing more about him.  Someone may have seen an exhibit of his artwork, or another may have seen one of his films.  Many more may simply know of him from his iconographic presence in the 70's and 80's.  So I decided to ask what exactly was the source of Warhol's influence upon the pop world?  Was it his artwork?  His films?  His proclivity for developing the careers of younger artists?  What exactly made him the truest icon of pop culture we have?

        Warhol was born in Pennsylvania the son of Czech immigrants.  His first forays into the realm of pop culture were at fashion trend magazines, such as GLAMOUR, HARPER'S BAZAAR, and VOGUE.  He later moved onto illustrating books and designing theater sets.  His first art exhibit was a group exhibit held at The Museum of Modern Art in 1956.  From here his work as a pop artist really took off.  His subjects ranged from the dollar bill to Popeye to perhaps his most recognizable, a Campbell's Soup can.  Throughout the 60's, 70's, and 80's he enjoyed exhibits at many of the major galleries for modern art in the States and Europe.  In 1963 he started work on his first film, Tarzan and Jane Regained, and toward the end of this year he establish his first studio on 47th Street which came to be know as The Factory.

Left: Page from Warhol's portfolio, 1950s. Right: Warhol illustration for Harper's Bazaar, July 1958. 
Both taken from THE WARHOL LOOK, Francis and King