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Andy Warhol

             Andy Warhol constantly warned people not to look any deeper than the surface of his art and life-and he insistently connected the two. He aggressively advertised his superficiality in both spheres in a carefully deadpan performance of innocent unconcern. From this, he left us with one central insight: that in a culture gutted with information, where most people experience most things through second or third hand through T.V. and print, through images that become banal and disassociated by being repeated, there is a role for affectless art. You no longer needed to be hot and full of feeling. You could be super cool. And Andy Warhol certainly felt and embodied this idea.
             Warhol was born Andrew Warhola. According to his birth certificate, he was born in Forest City, Pennsylvania on September 28, 1930 (Warhol claims this birth certificate is a forgery). He grew up a sickly kid in a working-class neighborhood. He was the only member of his family to attend college. He graduated from Carnegie Tech with a degree in design in 1949 and shortly thereafter he moved to New York City to try his hand at commercial illustration (Ratcliff 11). Commissions came fairly readily, and within a few years he became a commercial success, one of the leading fashion illustrators in New York and winner of a number of design industry awards.
             Warhol came to the forefront of the art world during the time when Abstract Expressionism was the leading style. Originating immediately after World War II in America, Abstract Expressionism initially celebrated the wide-open possibilities of the new "American Century" with an aesthetic that stressed individual freedom and personal expression above other considerations. This new style revolved around the idea of absolute freedom. According to Peter Wollen, author of Raiding the Icebox, what Warhol was looking for needed to express the very opposite of this myth of total individual freedom.

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