Andy Warhol can be considered as the twentieth century’s most celebrated exponent of Pop art .In fact he is regarded as a post-modern Renaissance man. He had great skills in commercial illustration,writing , photography, sculpture making, magazine editing and film making. He was also a television producer, an exhibition curator, and one of the most notable and proactive filmmakers of the New American film industry dating back to the early 1960s(Wollen ,1997). The influence of Warhol’s style of film making can be widely found in both the Hollywood mainstream films and experimental films. His works showcases bold images of street-life realism, sexual explicitness, and on-the-edge performances all of which includes his long-take, fixed-camera aesthetic that finally transformed itself into a structural film (O’Pray,1999).
During the early 1960s Warhol slowly emerged as a significant figure in the New York art scene, his first Manhattan show took place at the Stable Gallery during the fall of 1962 – showcasing Do It Yourself, Elvis, Marilyn, Dance Diagram,Coca-Cola, and disaster paintings. Warhol attended regular screenings at Jonas Mekas’ Film-makers’ Co-op on Park Avenue South and also Charles Theater on East 12th Street which in turn helped to boost his film making skills and expertise. He had close acquaintances with poets and filmmakers Marie Menken and Willard Maas,
Warhol’s early series of silent, black and white films emphasized stillness and duration,Sleep was one of them and it showed 6 hours a man sleeping. As pointed out by Callie Angell , it is possible to follow the development of Warhol’s minimalist style from the early experimentations with multiple camera positions and internal editing of Sleep, Kiss and Haircut .Also the stationary camera set up and single shot reels of Blow Job, Eat, Empire and Henry Geldzahler is worth noticeable(Angell ,1994). Blow Job is particularly notable of the series, projecting (throughout its 9 short reels) a single figure before the camera.
Warhol’s early films (mainly structural) were a silent celebration of the then emerging aesthetic of minimalism ( John Cage and LaMonte Young specially focuses on this).Anyhow this was not the only influence. Warhol's classics were also influenced by underground actor and filmmaker Jack Smith. Warhol picked something up from Jack Smith for his own films – the way Smith used anyone who happened to be around that day, and also the way in which he continued shooting until the actors got bored influenced Warhol (Harper and Row, 1983) .Warhol had a fascination with Hollywood and its star system.
By modifying his multiple-image “portraiture” of his celebrity silkscreens and the technique of his motionless films, Warhol documented the Factory scene in some five hundred 100-foot silent portrait films (it was shot between the years1964 and 1966) and is widely known as the Screen Tests. Warhol became a regular at the Film-makers’ Co-op and the individual Screen Tests – 4-minute close-up shots of motionless subjects facing a stationary camera .Those were showcased on a weekly basis under the title Andy Warhol Serials. The Screen Tests focused mostly on Warhol’s “industrial” or serial mode of production and were later reused in many projects like The Thirteen Most Beautiful Women and The Thirteen Most Beautiful Boys (1964–65) and maintained as a model for other ongoing cumulative projects likeKiss, Couch, and Banana (1964–65)( Angell,1994).
The first sound camera purchase was done in 1964.It was a single-system 16mm Auricon which he used to shoot 33-minute reels continuously. Warhol continued his experimentation with multiple formats into his magnum opus The Chelsea Girls (1966), the Chelsea Girls brought together not only the minimalism and theatricality of Warhol’s earlier films, but followed the work of Jack Smith and the Kuchar Brothers to diminish the gap between the underground and the mainstream, replicating in its “widescreen” format and histrionic modes the styles of the Hollywood blockbuster.
Andy Warhol's influence spread war and wide when he was alive, but after his death also his popularity knew no bounds. Warhol’s most radical lesson is reflected in the work of artists of subsequent generations. It tells a story of how artists like Keith Haring achieved art stardom in the 80's and 90's by effectively utilizing Warhol’s tactics. These tactics consists of referencing consumer entities, usage of corporate-style branding and self-promotion, and also engaging in factory-like production—often in the unhindered pursuit of wealth and finally a celebrity status.
Warhol gracefully set the model for so many of today’s art practitioners .It is obvious to anyone living close to the art world for the last 30 years. In the book, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again)(1975), Warhol said one of his notorious statements concerning business and art. He said that in the hippie era the philosophy which works is, making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art. Though this was a very provocative thing to say at the time when people believed that “Money is bad”. A corporate world always needed a corporate artist as per Andy.
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Before Warhol, lots of artists had assistants who stretched and primed canvases, ran errands, or even participated in making the work. But at the Factory, the crew grew to the size of a small business. It was seen as a sort of entourage, but Warhol turned that idea on its head: “People thought it was me that everyone at the Factory was hanging around…but that’s absolutely backward. It was me who was hanging around everyone else. I just paid the rent.” )( Angell,1994).
The Factory was a huge influence on Andy's art life and it allowed Warhol to create great paintings and films, publish Interview magazine, create a novel and a philosophy book, stage a play, design album front covers, make TV advertisements and music videos, work as a fashion model, and act on The Love Boat(O’Pray,1999).
In short we can say that Andy Warhol was one of the most influential artists of the latter portion of the twentieth century, creating some of the most memorable images ever produced. Andy Warhol always challenged the idealistic conventions and personal emotions conveyed by abstraction, Warhol embraced popular culture with open hands and commercial processes to create work that appealed to the general public. Andy was one of the pioneering founders of the Pop Art movement, expanding the ideas of Duchamp by challenging the very basic explanations of art. He was always ready to take artistic risks and his regular experimentation with various subjects and media made him a pioneer in almost all varieties of visual art. Andy's totally out of box sense of style and his celebrity entourage tremendously aided him reach the mega-star status which he always aspired (Angell, 1994).
Warhol's will dictated that his estate fund the Warhol Foundation for the advancement of the visual arts, which was subsequently created later that year. By the relentless efforts of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, Dia Center for the Arts, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., the Warhol Museum was finally inaugurated in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the year 1994; it houses a large collection of Warhol's work. Although Warhol would continue to paint his feelings intermittently throughout his career, during the year 1965 he officially retired from the medium to concentrate on making experimental films. Despite several years of total neglect, these films have recently attracted worldwide interest, and Warhol is now considered as one of the most important filmmakers of his period. Critics have traditionally thought that Warhol's career will decline in 1968, after he was shot by Valerie Solanas. His screen printed pictures of Marilyn Monroe, soup cans, and sensational newspaper stories, quickly became suggestive of the Pop Art culture. He is a guiding light to several poor artists because Andy himself emerged from the poverty and obscurity of an immigrant family located in Pittsburgh, to become a charismatic magnet for bohemian New York, and to finally catch up a place in the circles of High Society art. For many artists his rise still echoes one of Pop Art's ambitions, to bring popular styles, charisma and subjects into the fine salons of high art. His elevation to the status of a popular icon represented a new kind of fame and celebrity for a fine artist.