Andy Warhol Influence

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Andy Warhol is considered to be one of the most impactful artists to work in the later

half of the 20th century. His work challenged the institution of art in so many ways, from the

integration of popular culture iconography to his method of production in his “Factory”; Warhol

confronted what made art “art”, and redefined it throughout the span of his career. Personally,

Warhol was obsessed with celebrity and mass reproduction of commodities of any kind. This

infatuation greatly influenced the way he worked, by using screen-print, and appropriating

images from pop-culture of the 60’s, he was able to gain the infamy he so adored. The infamous

persona of “Andy Warhol” was surrounded by a posse of famous friends and acquaintances
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Warhol not only make his fan base and name recognition grow by

appropriating popular imagery, he also made his name and work synonymous with some of the

highest profit grossing companies in America. This subliminally made Warhol equal money.

He used this same method in the way he associated with celebrity. Their significance in

popular culture was only one way the appropriation of their images benefitted Warhol. Some

prominent figures that he made works of included Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and Elizabeth

Taylor. While working, Monroe was worth an estimated $2.17 million and after her death in

1962, was worth upwards of $27 million (Rohleder, Forbes). No coincidence that Warhol made

his first piece that incorporated Monroe in 1962, after her death, named “Gold Marilyn Monroe”

(MoMA). This piece made him associated with an icon during a time when she was worth more

money and when those who adored her were in mourning. This circumstantial point in time made

fans more likely to praise this commemorative piece of art for emotional value, rather than

artistic or intellectual.

Warhol widened his demographic by “lifting” well known and well liked images from
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There’s nothing behind it.” (Reeve, pg. 661). Expanding further on the

notion that his work was obvious and lacked substance. Unlike Warhol, Marcel Duchamp, who

influenced movements like Dada, Pop, and Conceptualism poked fun and questioned the

institution by challenging them with thought provoking works like “Fountain” (1917) and Etant

donnes (1946-66). These works, unlike Warhol’s, had meaning and confronted topics like

voyeurism, irony, humor, and capitalism (The Art Story). Warhol may be compared to Duchamp,

however, their efforts seem very different, even at face value. The work that took place at the

factory was experimental in nature, but included a slew of studio assistants that aided Warhol in

the process of removing the artist from the art and questioned the value of the “artist’s hand”

within the work (Guggenheim Museum). This concept brought critics and fans alike, but either

way, Warhol was still talked about, obsessed over, and scrutinized. All things the modern

celebrity faces.

Warhol remains at the center of the legacy of the Pop movement, and his work is
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