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Andy Warhol (August 6, 1928 - February 22, 1987) was an American painter and major figure in the pop art movement.
Warhol was born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh, PA, United States, to Slovakian immigrants of Ruthenian ethnicity. He showed early artistic talent, and studied commercial art at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now known as Carnegie Mellon University) in Pittsburgh. Upon graduating in 1949, he relocated to New York City and began a successful career in magazine illustration and advertising.
In the 1960s, he started to make paintings of famous American products like Campbell's soup cans and Coca-Cola. He switched to silkscreen prints, seeking not only to make art of mass produced items, but to mass produce the art itself. He hired and supervised "art workers" engaged in making prints, shoes, films, and other items at his studio, The Factory, located on Union Square in New York City. The Factory became a meeting place of artists and would-be artists such as Mick Jagger, Lou Reed and Truman Capote. Warhol became the manager of the influential New York rock band The Velvet Underground in 1965.
On June 3, 1968, Valerie Solanas, one of the Factory regulars, shot Warhol and nearly killed him. She entered his studio and fired three shots. Although the first two rounds missed, her third shot sent a bullet through Warhol's left lung, spleen, stomach, liver, esophagus and right lung. Solanas then turned the gun on a companion of Warhol, injuring his thigh. Although Warhol survived these injuries, he never fully recovered. Solanas later explained that "he had too much control over my life."
Besides being a painter, Warhol also made movies. Between 1963 and 1968, he made more than sixty films. His most famous one is Sleep (1963), which shows a man sleeping for eight hours. In the 35 minute film Blow Job (1963), he shows the face of a man receiving fellatio. The character of Warhol has also been played by David Bowie and Jared Harris in the films Basquiat and I Shot Andy Warhol, respectively.
Warhol used to socialize at Serendipity, a club in New York City. The Andy Warhol Museum is located in the North Shore district of Pittsburgh, PA. It is the largest American art museum dedicated to a single artist.