Soup can painter extraordinaire and Marilyn Monroe Diptych maestro, Andy Warhol was a bright star of the 20th-century art world. Warhol, whose contributions to pop art were unparalleled, started his career in commercial advertising, drawing shoes for Glamour magazine. He would go on to screen-print his way into New York City culture, influencing the creative scene of not only the Big Apple, but the whole world for generations to come.
Here are five things you should definitely know about Andy Warhol...
1. Art helped him heal
As a child, Warhol was tragically bed-bound due to an incapacitating illness known as Sydenham’s chorea. Also known as ‘St Vitus’ Dance’ due to the uncontrollable trembling it induces in patients, Warhol was forced to spend a substantial amount of his childhood in bed. It was during these restricted days that the pop artist’s love for art blossomed, and where he would spend his days drawing and surrounding himself with visual culture.
2. He was integral to the drag scene
In the 1960s when drag queens were dismissed as outsiders and freaks, Andy Warhol sought to incorporate them into the artistic movement. Drag queens became a well-known visitor at The Factory, and were swiftly integrated into the cultural scene. The Factory was Warhol’s Shangri-la for intellect, art and sexual experimentation, where artists, dreamers, drag queens, musicians, (even fellow artist and friend, Basquiat) and porn stars would unite to share nights of debauchery.
3. He was a virgin until the age of 58
Despite the sexually liberated nature of Warhol’s, The Factory, he claimed to never have engaged in sexual intercourse until the age of 58. This claim, however, was refuted by a long list of lovers professing to have had sex with the artist, and many eyebrows were raised after his treatment for the STI, condylomata in the 1960s.
4. Someone tried to kill him
On the 3rd June 1968, Valerie Jean Solanas, a radical feminist who penned the SCUM Manifesto, shot Warhol in his studio. Solanas encouraged women to break down the government and rid themselves of men, and was convinced Warhol embodied the patriarchal archetype of control and abuse. After the shooting, Solanas turned herself in, and was treated for paranoid Schizophrenia while Warhol’s critical injury took weeks to heal.
5. He painted with… urine…
If you didn’t think the man could get weirder, well, you were wrong. Andy Warhol took the idea of the world being his canvas to new levels when he conjured up the bright idea of ‘piss paintings’. He would invite friends to urinate on copper paint in order to try and oxidize it, before putting (slightly-yellowed) paintbrush to canvas...