Andy Warhol, né Andrew Warhola, was born 88 years ago, on 6 August 1928. It’s almost impossible to overstate Warhol’s influence on great swaths of popular culture during the last 50 years. Warhol, like David Bowie, seemed to live in the future, and did his best to help the rest of us catch up with him. But, also like Bowie, he was a chameleon who always stayed a few decades ahead.
The two shared another similarity. Andrew Warhola’s greatest work of art was “Andy Warhol,” just as David Robert Jones’s greatest work of art was “David Bowie.”
The photo at the top of this item shows Warhol kissing John Lennon, another person who had a great deal to do with changing the world into which he was born. The picture below this captures Warhol hanging out at The Factory with The Velvet Underground. Warhol “produced” the band’s classic first album.
The most famous Warhol quote was the prophetic: “In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” Here are some others:
- “An artist is somebody who produces things that people don’t need to have.”
- “Art is whatever you can get away with.”
- “Sex is more exciting on the screen and between the pages than between the sheets.”
- “The most beautiful thing in Tokyo is McDonald’s. The most beautiful thing in Stockholm is McDonald’s. The most beautiful thing in Florence is McDonald’s. Peking and Moscow don’t have anything beautiful yet.”
- “I’m afraid that if you look at a thing long enough, it loses all of its meaning.”
- “The Pop artists did images that anybody walking down Broadway could recognize in a split second –– comics, picnic tables, men’s trousers, celebrities, shower curtains, refrigerators, Coke bottles –– all the great modern things that the Abstract Expressionists tried so hard not to notice at all.”
- “I really do live for the future, because when I’m eating a box of candy, I can’t wait to taste the last piece. I don’t even taste any of the other pieces, I just want to finish and throw the box away and not have to have it on my mind any more. I would rather either have it now or know I’ll never have it so I don’t have to think about it. That’s why some days I wish I were very very old-looking so I wouldn’t have to think about getting old-looking.”
- “If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface; of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it.”
I can’t think about Warhol without remembering this song from the 80s: