5 minutes read
Often referred to as the Pope of Pop Art Warhol has been the subject of countless exhibitions, critiques, publications and even goodies. We have yet decided to add our own input with these 5 lesser known, yet revealing facts, about the artist.
Andy Warhol was all-rounder artist. But did you know he also dabbled into cooking? With his close friend Suzie Frankfurt, they published a cookbook entitled Wild raspberries. The teasing duo released 34 copies which included 19 original hand-painted illustrations. Even though Warhol successfully established the popular Campbell soups to the crème de la crème of Fine Art, the book was a commercial failure. This also sees to have been Warhol’s first try at the industrial process he later implemented at The Factory. While his friend wrote the recipe and Warhol designed the illustrations, he had a team of assistant add the colours. “Like a great chef, he would create the art, and then direct an assembly line of assistants to put it together”, described Frankfurt.
Behind his sulfurous appearance hid a devout Catholic. The artist attended mass almost every day and spent hours praying in Church in the afternoon when he missed the service. He grew up practising Byzantine catholic as his parents immigrated from actual Slovakia. The great art historian John Richardson exposed this side of Warhol in his eulogy, insisting on the importance of religion for the artist. The references to catholicism also multiplied in the latter years of Warhol’s life as he created various works based on major scenes and symbols from the Bible. The novelist Jeannette Winterson also pointed out the similarities between religion and Warhol’s take on art: “Repetition has a religious element too. Warhol was a devout Catholic, though eccentrically so. The rosary is repetition, the liturgy is repetition, the visual iconography of the Catholic Church depends on repetition.”
Warhol was obsessed with images and archives. At the Factory already Warhol had started to record short and casual footages of people coming to the mega studio. In the 1980’s the artist drastically expanded his audience through a TV show with the then underground cable channel MTV. Andy Warhol Fifteen Minutes offered interviews, performances and talks introduced by the Pop artist. “Warhol put everybody together: The high and the low. The rich and the famous. The struggling artists and the rising stars” explains Geralyn Huxley, curator of film and video at the Andy Warhol Museum. Unfortunately, only 5 episodes were released as the artist was transported to the hospital while filming the 5th episode and died later that day. The episode still aired on MTV, ending with footage of Warhol’s memorial service.
Warhol met Steve Jobs at Yoko Ono’s for her son’s birthday party. The tech tycoon to be had obviously gifted the young boy with a computer, his latest MacIntosh to date. Andy was soon captivated by the machine and the possibilities it could offer in art and quickly asked to have a try at it. Warhol became fascinated by computer-assisted art and explained to Jobs he had been consistently turning down a salesman who wanted to give him a Macintosh. “Yes, it was me” answered Steve Jobs. In 1985 though Warhol agreed to be the spokesperson for Apple’s rival of the time, Commodore. He promoted the newest computer, the Amiga 1000, which was amongst the first to display colours while all the others only offered greyscales.
In 1964 Warhol was creating his famous coloured portraits of celebrities and was then working on 5 canvases depicting one of America’s darling, Marilyn Monroe. Dorothy Podber, a friend of Billy Name a Factory regular, came by and discovered the paintings. Podber, who was a photographer, asked Warhol if he agreed that she shot them. Expecting that Podber would take pictures of the work Warhol gave his ok but instead of hearing the usual click of a camera he heard 4 gunshots. Shooting bearing the double meaning of photographing and firing a gun Podber had played on words … Warhol banned the photographer from the Factory. At that time, Podber was drifting away from photography to go into performance art. Contemporary artist Laurence De Valmy shares this anecdote, and others, in her unique Post paintings – you can check it out here.