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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Let's look back: Andy Warhol

  Andy Warhol was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became a renowned and sometimes controversial artist. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement. He worked in a range of media, including painting, printmaking, sculpture, film, and music. He founded Interview magazine and was the author of numerous books.  Andy Warhol is also notable as a gay man who lived openly as such before the gay liberation movement. His studio, The factory, was a famous gathering place that brought together distinguished intellectuals, drag queens, playwrights, Bohemian street people, Hollywood celebrities, and wealthy patrons.  With Andy Warhol, art and fashion merged. The famed painter of Campbell's soup cans, who began his career illustrating fashion magazines, would show up to black-tie events wearing yellow sunglasses, a tattered tuxedo jacket and paint-splattered pants. His Pop art influenced paper A-line "souper" dresses in the '60s, and designers have taken turns transposing his iconic works into clothes. The Warholian "Factory girl" look — characterized by smoky eyes, giant accessories, black-and-white motifs, and short hem lines — was inspired by Edie Sedgwick, a muse and companion who often starred in films made at his Factory studio. Warhol considered his retinue an exhibit in itself. "Fashion wasn't what you wore someplace," Warhol once said. "It was the whole reason for going."

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